Photo: Thinkstock

1. Get Fruitier

Apple, banana, pear, yawn. These exotic alternatives are packed with vitamins and fabulous new flavor.

Peel off the spiky red covering of this iron-rich Southeast Asian treat to reveal a translucent white orb with a taste that marries grape and watermelon.

3 more exotic fruits to try
couple with finger puppets

Photo: Marcos Chin

2. Pull the Plug On Your
Same Old Fight

You're mulling the night's TV options when your significant other grabs the remote and starts clicking away like a sugar-fueled 5-year-old. When you mention this, he askes how your OCD is going. You counterstrike that his mother raised her sons to be boorish louts—eliciting his usual rant about your mom still serving him meatloaf when he's been a vegetarian for years.

Find out how to finally put that repetitive argument to rest
woman and child taking self-portrait photo

Photo: Thinkstock

3. Click, Click, Print

We take 28 billion digital photos each year, most of which languish on our hard drives. To get those third-grade plays and surprise birthday parties off your computer and onto the fridge, consider the digital-photo collage. Photovisi.com offers customized tools that can be downloaded free of charge, Smilebox.com provides more than 1,000 collage templates for home printing, and Shutterfly.com and Snapfish.com will deliver printed collages to your home or office.
woman typing on laptop computer

Photo: Thinkstock

4. Edit Your Online Self

Deleting old Flickr photos and closing Myspace accounts do only so much. If you want to seriously revamp what pops up when someone searches for you, consider turning to an online reputation management agency. Such sites, like Reputation.com and MetalRabbitMedia.com, reverse engineer search-engine algorithms in order to drive favorable content towards the top and bury unflattering posts. One DIY to hiding embarassing content: Create Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages; Google and Bing generally put content from social networking sites toward the top of search results.
Wasara biodegradable dinnerware

Photo: Gregor Halenda

5. Entertain with Ease

Who knew the humble paper plate could bring both class and consciousness to the table? A Japanese brand called Wasara, that's who. Designer and restaurateur Shinichiro Ogata sculpted curvaceous plates (and bowls, and cups and saucers) for easy balancing while you're deep in coverstaion, then molded their creamy surfaces from rapidly renewing materials like bamboo, reed pulp and sugarcane fibers. When the party's over, the dishes go straight into the compost bin.

Available at BranchHome.com
customizible candy bars

Photo: Gregor Halenda

6. Build a Better Chocolate Bar

Mmm, dark chocolate with yogurt-covered pretzels, rainbow sprinkles and salty potato chips. Or—oh, God—milk chocolate with pumpkin seeds, dried raspberries and flaxseeds. No—wait—white chocolate with toffee bits and Fruity Pebbles. Hungry? Sites like Chocri.com, Chocomize.com and ChocBite.com let you customize your own bar from scratch, with scores of sweet, savory and spicy add-ons. Chocolate with Pop Rocks, anyone?
stationery by Haathi Chaap

Photo: Gregor Halenda

7. Pen a New Kind of Note

Say it with...elephant dung. Seriously: Green-minded stationer Haathi Chaap collects the stuff from elephant stables, then dries it and boils it with salt water to eliminate odor and bacteria. The remaining fibrous material—digested sugarcane and leafy tree stalks—is beaten into pulp, diluted with water and pressed into hygienic sheets. The paper's light brown color varies depending on the elephant's diet.

Available at ElephantPooPaper.com
man holding piggy bank

Photo: Thinkstock

8. Account for It All Online

Keep track with these digital dashboards:

Create budgets, set savings goals and monitor where the dough goes, with this money manager that syncs automatically with your bank, credit card, investment and loan accounts.

A virtual and secure filing cabinet with unlimited storage, Manilla allows you to go paperless while streamlining banking, magazine subscriptions, loyalty reward programs and utilities.

If you want to manage your Netflix queue and pay your credit card bills on the same screen, head to this popular mobile app.
woman massaging temples

Photo: Thinkstock

9. Rub Out Stress

You can schlep to a masseuse for $100 an hour, or relieve stress in minutes for free, using acupressure—the Chinese art of applying pressure to specific points on the body, says Dr. Mehmet Oz. Start by gently tugging your earlobes, pressing lightly with your thumb and index finger. Rub your lobes and move up the outer rim of the ear. This can stimulate endorphin production and reduce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.

Photo: Courtesy of LARK

10. Shake Awake

Billed as the "un-alarm clock," LARK is a sleep system in which you program wake-up times into your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, slip on the wireless wrist band and then hit the sack. When it's time to rise, the band wakes you with gentle vibrations. The best part? If you and your partner are on different schedules, it rouses only the person who needs to get up, as there's no audible alarm.

Available at Lark.com
ToHu Swizzle cocktail

Photo: Gregor Halenda

11. Sip Cachaça

While some poor souls may think cachaça is limited to the caipirinha—Brazil's national cocktail—mixologists are finding increasingly creative combinations for the Latin spirit, made from fresh-pressed sugarcane juice. We asked three to craft new cocktails starring this lesser-known liquor.

Get 5 new cachaça cocktail recipes
girls using a laptop

Photo: Thinkstock

12. Send a Smarter Message

Yes, we live in a 140-character world, thumbs furiously tapping out terse missives. But consider an e-mail received recently by O magazine's editor-in-chief: "susan: hows it goin?? Annny chance you might know some peeps that could get a screenplay 2 production?"

The chances of this e-mail being taken seriously, of course, are south of zero. Literacy speaks volumes; all these disposable little messages themselves send messages—about you. So we humbly suggest: When faced with the choice of writing "because" or "becuz," "for" or "4," opt for elegance. Spell out words, end sentences with periods, consider the comma. Oh, and one exclamation point will do.


Photo: Thinkstock

13. Find Your Calling Card

News flash: You are not your job. So why, at social events, should you be stuck swapping business cards? Instead, go retro with a calling card—a stationery statement of personality through art, color and a simple presentation of contact info. Browse crisp letterpress at Suitor and Page Stationery or a riot of colorful motifs at Crane & Co.
take your demons to lunch

Photo: Marcos Chin

14. Take Your Demons to Lunch

Looking past divisive politics and differing views to the person on the other side of the issue may be challenging, but it's not impossible. Elizabeth Lesser, cofounder of the Omega Institute and author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, suggests starting with lunch.

How to get past the act of "otherising"
earrings on display

Photo: Gregor Halenda

15. Dangle, Don't Tangle

The best way to solve jewelry box woes? Ditch the box. Organizing whiz Peter Walsh offers this how-to: Start with a picture frame, fill the opening with cut-to-fit wire mesh (available at hardware stores) or a fabric-covered cork board and staple or nail it in place. Earrings hang from the mesh; necklaces dangle from hooks. To keep rings and bracelets equally visible at a glance, Walsh recommends clear drawers or jewelry trays.
SoulCycle Illustration

Illustration: Marcos Chin

16. Remix Your Workout

To change up your sweat routine, give your yoga mat a break and try a new class.

Fans of this thigh-quaking class lift hand weights, do modified push-ups and work their core with crunches—all while furiously peddling spinning bikes.


4 more ways to remix your workout
phone, pen and planner

Photo: Thinkstock

17. Read Your Voice Mail

The last time you dialed in and listened to a voice mail was...when, again? Delete the hassle of message retrieval with Google's free voice mail service. After a quick setup, it automatically transcribes incoming messages and sends them to you as e-mails or text messages. Do a quick read and get on with your life.

family eating dinner

Photo: Thinkstock

Create Quality Time

Three readers share the traditions that help them savor time with family.

"For Friday dinners, I had a vase stuffed with folded Post-it notes, each with a conversation topic on it, like 'What do you love most about the person sitting next to you?' When my kids were young, we'd all pick one and take turns answering. Mixed in were bonus coupons for a kid's-choice meal or free ice cream."
—Lisa Rowell, 45, Falmouth Massachusetts

"It's so easy to crowd the calendar with activities, but last year we decided not to enroll our son in anything on weekends. Instead, we have Explorers Day—we take turns picking a destination. We bike or drive with grandparents, which feels leisurely because we're not racing back for other things on the schedule."
—Anne Medved, 33, Boston

"Deciding which movie to watch as a group used to take forever. Now my sisters and I play a game we call 3-2-1. One of us picks three movies to watch, the next narrows it down to two options, and the last person makes the final choice. It's a fun bonding game—and now no more bickering if the movie is lousy." —Jamie Spitz, 24, New York City

Photo: Gregor Halenda

Drink Your Greens

Whether you're a lettuce freak or salad-phobe, you'll want to try blending greens into your next fruit smoothie. Tossing in a large handful of spinach, kale, collards, Swiss chard, parsley or romaine along with fruit and milk makes for an emerald-flecked glass of liquid sunshine, full of chlorophyll, fiber, and nutrients. Trust us, the fruit is a master of disguise—you won't even taste the greens.

For recipes go to GreenMonsterMovement.com
vertical storage shelves

Photo: Gregor Halenda

20. Decorate from a Different Angle

Sure, bookshelves provide efficient storage, but they make reading book titles a pain in the neck—literally. Keep your head upright with the Paperback Wall System by Studio Parade, which has skinny little laminate slats for holding books horizontally.

Available at SUITE New York, SuiteNY.com

See 2 more out-of-the-box decorating ideas
helping hands

Photo: Thinkstock

21. Do Good—Better

Figuring out where to put your philanthropic energy can be surprisingly daunting. Enter AllForGood, a service-based Web site that does the sifting for you. Inspired in part by Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and developed with the help of Google engineers, the smartly designed site is a centralized search engine for volunteer opportunities, culling more than 150,000 postings from matching sites like Idealist, Catchafire, Truist, AARP's Create the Good, and United Way. Filter listings according to your interests, skills, neighborhood and time frame, whether you're seeking a one-day project building a playground or a weekly soup kitchen gig.

Freedom, Three Junes, A Small Hotel

Photo: Gregor Halenda

22. Find a (Sort of) Sequel

Some follow-up suggestions for couldn't-put-it-down books you've already read.

Follow Freedom, Jonathan Franzen's stunner about life as we know it, with Julia Glass's Three Junes, another great American novel. Or try A Small Hotel, Robert Olen Butler's shorter but no less encompassing tale of love and loss.

Get more follow-up suggestions for your favorite page-turners
iPad with chef sleeve

Photo: Gregor Halenda

Cook Up a Fine Mess with Your iPad

Tired of gunking up your iPad screen with tomato sauce while trying to follow a recipe for spaghetti Bolognese? The Chef Sleeve is the splatterproof, smearproof and smudgeproof answer: The thin, food-safe film encases your tablet but doesn't interfere with touchscreen functions. Reusable (but also recyclable when they get too gross), the sleeves are sold in packaging that doubles as a convenient countertop iPad stand.

Available at ChefSleeve.com
calculator, scissors and coupons

Photo: Thinkstock

24. Score a Deal

Quit clipping coupons! Thanks to the popularity of sites like Groupon, flash sales (limited edition deals) are oh so of-the-moment. Four sites to suit any shopping style:

At MyHabit, the new designer sale site from Amazon, shopaholics enjoy up to 60 percent off—and free shipping—from high-end and boutique brands like Alberta Ferretti and Dogeared jewelry.

Get an Android smartphone, iPod nano, or LCD monitor on the cheap with the daily deals at CowBoom, a Best Buy offshoot that offers new, used and refurbished electronics.

Daily Gourmet dishes discounts on high-quality eats from around the world (think: cask-aged premium wine vinegar, small-batch gluten-free granola and hand-crafted coffees.)

Social Butterflies
LivingSocial secures savings of 50 percent or more on local products and getaways. Convince three of your friends to purchase the offer as well and you get the deal for free.

Zoku Quick Pop Maker

Photo: Yos Kumthampinij

25. Give a Gift They'll Remember

Wine and flowers are nice but not noteworthy. We asked frequent hosts to recall gifts that made an impact.

"The Zoku Quick Pop Maker has become a permanent fixture on my kitchen counter. You'd be surprised by the endless flavor options!" —Ivanka Trump, jewelry designer

See 4 more unforgettable hostess gifts
stack of letters

Photo: Thinkstock

26. Send a Prettier Invite

Online invitations don't have to be so cheesy—or cluttered by ads.

Punchbowl.com: Customized invites and add-on perks like potluck checklists and a polling tool to help pick the date.

Cocodot.com: Thousands of contemporary invitations to satisfy design snobs and typography geeks.

Pingg.com: Artists upload images, creating a bank of more than four million themes you can personalize with photos or video.

PaperlessPost.com: The virtual version of high-end stationery, these pack the luxe look of letterpress.
unblock me puzzle

Photo: Kiragames Co, Ltd.

27. Play Smarter

You can zone out with another round of Angry Birds—or kill time with these apps that work your brain.

Unblock Me
A frustrating yet addictive puzzle game in which you manipulate rectangles to free one from its blockade.
iTunes, free; full version 99 cents. Android, free.

7 Little Words
Each puzzle consists of seven clues that lead to seven mystery words made from 20-letter groups—let the brain racking begin!
iTunes; free.

Simple Physics
Design sturdy structures—a skyscraper buffeted by hurricanes, a roof bearing a mountain of snow—without breaking your project budget.
iTunes; 99 cents.

You have a limited number of moves to navigate this visual puzzle, flipping tiles to match a set pattern.
iTunes; 99 cents.
couple creating a heart made of coins

Illustration: Marcos Chin

28. Zap the Money Tension from
Your Marriage

You promised to love, honor and cherish—but what about not killing each other over your finances? Suze Orman offers three rules:

1. Keep it private.
Making cutting financial remarks in front of friends helps no one. Ditto, ambushing each other in public about big purchases or financial decisions you've made. You'll only alienate your spouse and make everyone else uncomfortable.

2. Remember—yours, mine and ours.
All family spending and saving should come out of a joint account. Then divvy up anything that's left over into separate accounts that you each manage without input or judgment from the other.

3. Update, upate, update.
You handle the monthly bills, your spouse takes care of the retirement accounts. That's fine. But what I will not tolerate is either of your staying in the dark. Sit down and brief each other once a month on the stuff you handle.

woman applying lipstick

Credit: Thinkstock

29. Kiss Subtlety Goodbye

A sheer peach gloss is lovely, and a soft pink stain has its place. But for an under-a-minute total transformation, you can't beat a bold, bright lipcolor. Here's how makeup artist Denise Markey says anyone (including you) can pull off a poppy red or fuschia mouth: Use a brush to apply lipstick to the center of the lips. With your finger, tap the color out to the corners of your mouth. This ensures that the color isn't opaque, which can make it too intense and likely to migrate beyond the edges of your lips. Limit the rest of your beauty routine to tinted moisturizer, mascara, and a sheer cream blush.
group of friends toasting with wine

Photo: Thinkstock

30. Make New Friends

You moved, you switched jobs, you lost your best pal to a new romance. Now what? Rachel Bertsche, author of MWF Seeking BFF, on how to solidify a new friendship:

Don't play hard to get. You might need to make the first move, and the second, and the third. People are busy in their routines. If you wait for reciprocity, you could be waiting forever.

Be confident. Skip the dissertation-length explanation of why you've got time to burn. A simple "I'd love to get together sometime; are you available for lunch or coffee this week?" should do the trick.

"Friending" is not befriending. It's easy to get caught up in a virtual friendship, but monitoring her Facebook is not a real relationship. If she posts, "like" it—then meet IRL (in real life).