We received nearly 300 responses to our call for five-word life hacks in the March issue. “Love the fun interaction in the magazine this month,” wrote Greg Brower, MA ’98. The hacks tended to fall into seven categories: well-being, efficacy, sustainability, work, finances, food and—of all things—bathroom habits. We even got a letter written entirely in five-word sentences from two alumni who provided more than a dozen environmentally friendly life hacks. For your enjoyment, it is published in full below.

Food and Drink

Fresh rice for fried rice.
David Frazee, ’92

Chocolate Cake Illustration

Life without chocolate is not.
Judy Kimelman, MD ’89

Yes to the cotton candy.
Wake up to Nespresso. Game-changing.
Carrie Awbrey, ’84

Keep chilled champagne on hand.
Scott McCarty, ’76

Crack eggs on paper towels.
Cliff Spiro, ’76

Freeze grapes to chill wine.
Microwaved limes give more juice.
Remove fruit stems with straw.
Cut soft foods with floss.
Kim Bluitt, ’92

Eat fresh vegetables every day.
Lorraine Fox, ’79

When in doubt, add butter.
Andrew Jabara, ’18


Important: Don’t work full time.
Barbara Saunders, ’88

Woman Napping Illustration

Recurring calendar meeting for naps.
David Calica, ’15

Never hit send after midnight.
Sarah Close, ’96


One spouse/mortgage. Compound interest.
Brian West, ’82, MS ’83

Routine oil changes save cars.
Kim Bluitt, ’92


Phone down! You too, parents!
Greg Brower, MA ’98

Take the stairs whenever possible.
Albert Koong, ’89, PhD ’94

Splurge on first class. Once.
Emily Hampson, ’02

Natural light always in view.
Carrie Awbrey, ’84

Hang upside down, rest spine.
Bart Garton, ’84

Walk with a friend daily.
Dick Jaffe, ’72

Every morning: Yoga before email.
Shannon Snow, MA ’05

Secret to living longer: Volunteer!
Vilma Kennedy Pallette, ’52

Read one hour every day.
Susan Helms, MS ’85

Enjoy sun wearing big hat.
Christine Carr, ’86

Leopard print is a lifestyle.
LoMo Phillips, ’17

Learn something new after 40.
Billie Mandel, ’94

Drop draining relationships right away.
Deborah Simmons, ’85

When zombies rise, avoid Colma.
Scott Ullman, ’03, MA ’08

Unmentionable Topics

Toilet Paper Illustration

Buy two-ply. It’s worth it.
Emily Hampson, ’02

Psyllium. One beauty per day.
Bart Garton, ’84

Carry on extra pair underwear.
Bryan Lung, ’04, MS ’06


First, write a basic checklist.
Jaime Batiz, MS ’98, Engr. ’99

Smile and use people’s names.
Elizabeth Atcheson, ’74, MBA ’86

Kids Jumping Illustration

Dress toddlers in bright colors.
Rudy Gurrola, ’81

Matching socks is way overrated.
Megan Chesnut, ’83

Washing dishes cures writer’s block.
Julia Offen, ’86, MA ’86

Never do math in public.
Ellen Winograd, ’80

Back car in, zippier exit.
Bart Garton, ’84

Pack lunch the night before.
David Pan, ’02

Always read the instructions twice.
Bill Prior, MS ’97

Never ask for an extension.
Rich Nymoen, ’90

Sit in the front row.
Dianne Millner, JD ’75

Prepare an emergency bag. Now.
Clean your microwave with lemon.
Use pillowcases to store sheets.
No candles? Use crayons instead.
Soothe minor burns with toothpaste.
Stuck lid? Use hot water.
Hair clips organize long wires.
Toothpaste clears up hazy headlights.
Spaghetti sticks can light candles.
Clean dust with old socks.
Save time: Plan weekly menu.
Apple cider vinegar fixes everything.

Kim Bluitt, ’92

Man Holding Up Hands Illustration

Know when to break word limits.
David Frazee, ’92


Water: Drink, swim, listen, protect.
Chris Erlin, ’89

Don’t throw away, fix it!
Dave Backs, MS ’70

Dear Editors:
We liked your sustainability issue.
We took the five-word challenge.
We put the two together.
Love Stanford’s waste management work!
Climate is a health issue.
We’re all in this together.
Eat foods grown close by.
Choose free-range organic animal products.
Grow healthy soil wherever possible.
Save rain on every roof.
Stop pooping into drinking water.
Cut down on plane travel.
Drive and pedal electric vehicles.
Solar powers day, wind night.
Support indigenous sovereignty and survival.
Natives know what can last.
Expose confusion so we heal.
Blame will get us nowhere.
It’s fun to be succinct!

Jennifer Kreger, ’87
Wade Gray, ’83

Have one to add?

Submit your entry in the form below or tweet it using #5wordhack.

Kathy Zonana, ’93, JD ’96, is the editor of Stanford.