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Wrestling with a Cardboard Box

July 29, 2014

tools.matt simmons

I just bought a new vacuum, after the old one started leaving marks on my hard wood floor. I’m not patient with printed instructions, so I hoped it wouldn’t be difficult to set up. (I turned to YouTube.) The far bigger challenge was getting the vacuum out of the box. It was wedged in so tight that despite rigorous tugging, it wouldn’t budge. The easy solution would’ve been to slice open the box, but I wanted to keep it intact, in case of a return. I was cursing, dripping with sweat, and wishing I had a husband. 20 minutes and a few bruises later, I finally pried it loose.

Photo by Matt Simmons


Contest: Keep a Lid On

July 28, 2014

Top This

I’m all for being direct, but there are situations when silence is golden. Recently, after a quarrel, I wrote a heated email to a neighbor, but had the good sense not to press send. A few hours later, the situation got resolved. I was so glad to have held back. To enter today’s contest, name a time when it was wise for you to keep a lid on. The prize is my new favorite kitchen gadget,
TOP THIS from Rachael Ray. I don’t have a large kitchen, so each tool has to serve a good purpose. This set of 3 silicone lids fits a variety of containers and creates an airtight seal for storing items in the refrigerator or freezer. They’re flexible, yet sturdy, safe in the microwave and dishwasher and have minimized my use of aluminum foil and plastic wrap. Even if you don’t cook, they’re great for stowing and heating up takeout. I reach for them every day.

Submit your entry using the Comments section. Include your first name. If you win, we’ll email for your U.S. shipping address and phone number. By submitting you’ll become an FPS subscriber (if you’re not already). Please submit only one idea per entry, though feel free to enter as often as you like. Deadline is August 3, 2014.


End of Week Summer Zen

July 25, 2014

Freedom.Jean Jullien

As I’m about to unplug, I wish you all a peaceful weekend. Stay tuned next week for a new contest.

Freedom by Jean Jullien


Deep Pleasures of Alone Time

July 24, 2014

Lizzy Stewart

Artwork by Lizzy Stewart. Check out her blog, Solo

Vive Les Carbs

July 23, 2014

René Magritte, ‘L’avenir’ (1936)



Painting by René Magritte

Mopping Up

July 22, 2014

Andrea Wan

This week my patio is being retiled. I’ve employed a well-intentioned contractor who does a cursory cleaning at the end of each shift, but there’s still a thin layer of dust clinging to the floors and countertops. I’m trying to relax about it, but I hate feeling the grit on my feet. And my dog is tracking it everywhere. I’ve been wiping things down with a damp cloth. I feel like my mother.

Illustration by Andrea Wan


Good Advice

July 21, 2014

1940s.Ben Wiseman

Before you marry a person you should first make them use a computer with slow internet to see who they really are.

Tweet: will_ferrell
Illustration: Ben Wiseman


End of Week Zen

July 18, 2014

WitchoriaImage from Witchoria

Elaine Stritch, RIP

July 17, 2014

Hang in there with this behind the scenes look at Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 musical, Company, featuring the incomparable Elaine Strich. Broadway lights will be dimmed tomorrow in her honor. I was a huge fan.

“We Have a Liftoff”

July 16, 2014



45 years ago today, Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 crew head out for their launch to the moon.
(AP Photo/file)