TIME advice

One Easy Way to Tell if You’re Susceptible to Stress

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Heart rates correlate with levels of psychological distress

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

Stress affects us all in different ways. But, some of us are just a little more vulnerable to the nasty ways stress can mess with us. And, now, researchers at Concordia University have found that variations in heart rate may be a predictor of stress susceptibility.

In the study, published in this month’s issue of the journal Stress, 76 undergraduate students first completed an online questionnaire to assess their levels of stress, anxiety, and depression during a low-stress period of the academic year. Then, in the lab, they had their baseline heart rate measured for seven minutes. Next, while their heart rate was still being monitored, participants were asked to worry about something in the future that could potentially have a negative influence on their life for five minutes. After this “free worry period,” the participants were interviewed about their personal worries, and were asked to rate how likely and how awful each future consequence would be. Then, about three months later, right before finals week, the participants were given another mood questionnaire.

(MORE: The 9 Worst Ways Stress Messes With You)

It turned out that the variation of participants’ heart rates was correlated with their levels of psychological distress. Specifically, a lower resting rate during the low-stress time frame, combined with a higher level of reactivity in respiratory sinus arrhythmia (the way our heart rate naturally varies with our breathing patterns) in response to the worry conditions, was linked to more drastic changes in psychological distress during the high-stress time period. This means that those participants with lower variable heart rates (but also higher levels of change) had higher increases in anxiety ratings.

(MORE: Target Heart Rate: You’re Doing It Wrong)

So, this suggests that health professionals might be able to use our heart rate variability (based on the interbeat interval, which is pretty easy to measure) to screen for people who are particularly susceptible to the negative effects of stress. It also suggests that heart rate might be a good target for those of us trying to relieve anxiety — which indicates that breathing techniques and focusing on the present rather than the future could be especially useful stress-relief tips. And, there’s already technology on the way to help us out. But, even without the gadgets, finding your zen should be a definite priority.

(MORE: This Is The Best Way To Beat Stress)

TIME advice

The Thank You Note Isn’t Dead

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You should break out the pens for thank you notes. So retro, right?

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

Just a couple of weeks after sending out your wedding invitations, the RSVPs will start to arrive… as will the wedding gifts! (Which makes checking the mail in the month before your wedding so much fun.) And, thanking each and every guest not only for giving a gift, but also for attending your wedding, is an etiquette must. Here’s exactly how to nail your wedding thank yous.

The Basics

Purchase thank you cards before your wedding. You’ll likely be completely overcome with gratitude in the days after your wedding and will want to send thank you cards immediately, so don’t put off buying them. If you like the look of the modern thank you cards that include a wedding photo, at least choose the card you’ll send as early as possible; then you can quickly complete the order once you have then photos from your photographer. And buy notes to send for shower or engagement gifts in the meantime.

Send thank yous as gifts arrive. There’s no sense in waiting until you have dozens of presents to sort through.

Send them within a few weeks of your wedding. You do not have a year to send out thank-you cards — you have three months max. Start writing and mailing your notes when you get back from your honeymoon. (But don’t stop sending thank-you notes even if it takes you more than three months!)

(MORE: Local Stationery Line Suitor Gives Us A Lesson In Manners)

Handwrite them. We have nothing but love for e-cards, but you should break out the pens for thank you notes. So retro, right?

Send a thank you to everyone who attends your wedding. And yes, that includes people who may not have given you a gift. There’s no doubt that attending your wedding involved their time (and, most likely, some money), so let them know they helped you feel special and loved.

Send photos if you can. If you have a few early prints from your photographer, include one of your portraits or a picture of yourselves with the guest you’re thanking, or a great shot of the guest in the photo booth. You could also take a photo of yourselves using the gift and send that along.

Try not to stress about it too much though: Just because you’re following an etiquette rule by sending thank yous doesn’t mean you have to adopt an unnatural tone. Stick to conversational language that’s authentically you.

(MORE: Modern Manners: The New Rules For Real Life)

Not sure what to write? Here’s a thank you card breakdown that our friends at Sugar Paper LA shared with us. And keep in mind that many of the tips below are universal and can be applied to all types of thank-you cards.

1. The greeting. Address your guests (and be sure to spell their names right).

2. The gratitude. Note: While you should say thanks for the generous gift towards your honeymoon, or a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond, refrain from mentioning the amount given.

3. How you’ll use it. Guests want to know they’ve given you something you love and can use, so thank them for giving you cash towards your first home, or for the new KitchenAid mixer you plan to use to make fresh pasta.

4. Thank them for their presence. If they were at your wedding, let them know how much you appreciate it and how nice it was to spend time with them. If they weren’t at your wedding, thank them for their long-distance good wishes and let them know you hope to see them in person soon.

5. More gratitude. Finish your note with “Many thanks!” or “Thanks again!”

6. The good-bye. You can sign off with “Love” if you’re comfortable, or just use a dash and then sign your names.

(MORE: Everyone’s Getting Married; Here’s What To Buy Them)

TIME Dating

When It’s Okay to Walk Out of a Date

Why had I stayed when my gut was telling me to leave?

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

Walking into the new, chic bar in Harlem, I had the usual jitters that arrive when you’re about to meet someone you’ve been talking to online. I was nervous — but also excited — to learn more about J.R., the guy I’d been chatting and texting with for a few weeks.

From the moment I saw him (sitting, hunched over his phone, texting), I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I approached him in spite of it. We introduced ourselves, but instead of getting up and heading to the bar with me, he stayed fixated on his phone. After about 20 minutes of this — his phone getting way more attention than me — he excused himself to take a call. You can probably predict what happened next: He never came back. I sat alone in the bar, fighting back angry tears.

(MORE: Dating Nightmares Come True)

And yet, from the moment I’d laid eyes on J.R., my instincts had told me I wasn’t walking into a good situation. My Jerk-O-Meter had gone off, and I’d ignored it. Why had I stayed when my gut was telling me to leave? Why had I made feeble attempts at small talk when his body language was clearly telling me he wanted nothing to do with me? Well, I did it because it was the polite thing to do. I let manners trump my instincts. And, I realized with some dismay, it wasn’t the first time I’d allowed my inclination to be considerate overrule my need to stand up for myself.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. Women are practically trained to “be nice.” We want to be liked, and so we often act politely — even in the face of someone’s rudeness. Being nice to guys I dated, including ones I knew didn’t deserve it, was something I’d just always done. When J.R. defended his phone fixation with a sarcastic remark and still wouldn’t give me the time of day, I could have — and obviously should have — turned and walked out. But, I kept fighting to be polite. I’m not to blame for J.R.’s bad behavior, but my sitting down and continuing to engage with him indicated that I was okay with how he was treating me, which probably only made him think he could disrespect his future dates, too.

It was this horrible date with J.R. that gave me the impetus to throw my good manners out the window when I deemed it necessary. From now on, I was going to put myself first — even if it meant I had to be a little rude. Enough with the niceness all the time! I was quickly learning that it was not always the best policy. Now, if a date makes me feel disrespected, I have the right — and the obligation — to leave. And, I’m proud to say that’s just what I did the last time a guy I went out with turned out to be an asshole.

(MORE: What To Do After A Great First Date…)

I’d met Pete online, and after some nice email exchanges, we decided to meet in person. Pete picked a coffee shop downtown, which fit my rule about meeting in neutral, safe locations. When I walked in, Pete waved at me, with a smile, from a table in the corner. “What’s up, CeCe!” he said, giving me one of those cool-guy chin nods. I hesitantly sat down. We’d barely said hello when Pete began to talk about himself, non-stop, while also checking out other girls right in front of my face. I looked at my watch (never a good sign during a date), which confirmed that the date had been going on for exactly six minutes. I waited for Pete to ask me something — anything — about myself. But, that never happened.

If this was Pete putting his best foot forward, I’d seen all I needed to. “Actually, I’m going to head out,” I said. “It was nice meeting you!” I picked up my purse and went to get a manicure.

Sometimes, being nice is overrated.

(MORE: Perfect Outfits For Every Fall Date)

TIME relationships

How Social Media Makes Breakups Uglier for Everyone

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Oversharing isn't any good for the sharer

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

We get it. When you’re in the throes of a breakup, a public display of affection or hate seems like the only logical move that could possibly capture the emotions bubbling up inside your being. But, in reality, a Twitter rant about your ex is usually more pathetic and off-putting than touching or convincing. And, ever since the breakup Post-it became the breakup Facebook post, our various networks seem to be making this already-difficult process even more agonizing.

(MORE: How To End That On-Again, Off-Again Relationship — For Good)

To get a picture of what it looks like when a relationship ends on social media, researchers at Aalto University in Finland went to Twitter. They looked at tweets posted during a 28-hour period from users whose profiles mentioned another user along with a word like “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” (Wisely, the researchers made sure not to include people whose proclaimed S.O. was a celebrity.) This left 40,000 pairs of users who seemed to be romantically linked IRL. After following these users for a period of six months, the researchers were able to pick out the ones who had broken up — and hone in on the language used in tweets before and after the uncoupling. As pictured in the resulting magnificent word clouds, the researchers found that phrases like “I hate when you” and “shut the f**k up” replaced “I love you” post-breakup.

Obviously, as our feelings towards our partners change, so do our interactions with them. But, what’s less obvious is how much of an effect that public exchange has on its audience, a.k.a. all your other followers. Sure, some of us are probably drawn to (or at least entertained by) that drama, but another study suggests the majority of your Facebook friends would appreciate if you kept your relationship news to yourself. For this one, researchers showed 100 participants fake Facebook timelines and asked them to rate the person’s levels of relationship satisfaction and commitment, based on their posts. Participants thought the Fakebookers who dished a lot about their relationships were the most satisfied — but, they also disliked them the most.

(MORE: Does Your Brain Feel The Effects Of A Breakup?)

Oversharing isn’t any good for the sharer, either, especially after the breakup. Forgetting about our exes (at least partially) seems to be an essential step of moving on. And, according to at least one small study, that’s even harder to do when your relationship details are scattered across the Internet. Here, the researchers took an in-depth look at the post-breakup behavior of 24 participants and found they could sort them into three categories: keepers, deleters, and selective disposers of their relationships’ digital artifacts. It seems those who were able to selectively disengage from their online interactions with their exes were the most well-adjusted.

So, although social media does have the power to bring us closer together, it makes it harder to forget about each other, too. But, we’ll forgive the post-relationship over-sharers, because we all know breaking up is hard to do — online or off.

(MORE: What To Do When Your Friends Break Up)

TIME Recipes

The Only 7 Kale Recipes You’ll Ever Need

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This chameleon-like superfood has many culinary uses

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

It’s no exaggeration to say that kale has reigned supreme in the vegetable kingdom for the past few years. With a fan base that encompasses everyone from Hollywood stars to chain restaurants, it’s one of the most buzzed-about foods of our time. And, a rumored shortage nearly caused a mass frenzy. You’d be hard-pressed to find people who haven’t devoured a kale dish or two.

(MORE: The Official Cronut Recipe Is Here)

The truth is, the chameleon-like superfood has many culinary uses. It has taste and texture that make it an ideal ingredient for so many dishes — it can be tossed in a salad, blended in a smoothie, or boiled in a soup. Yes, these crunchy greens are definitely here to stay. In celebration of National Kale Day, we looked back into our archives and found seven recipe standouts that make for a healthy, green-leaf dinner tonight or breakfast tomorrow morning. You’ll want to keep this list handy at your next grocery store visit.

(MORE: Hottest Brunch Spot: Your Place, With This Easy Eggs Recipe)

  1. Kale & Avocado Summer Rolls: Not just for summertime, this fresh and zesty combo is delicious year-round.
  2. Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl: This fresh take on a traditional burrito bowl substitutes cauliflower for beef and kale for lettuce. Delicioso.
  3. Citrus Ginger Tofu Salad With Buckwheat Soba Noodles: This super easy recipe’s ingredient list includes soba noodles, cabbage, kale, carrots, broccoli — in other words, everything you’ll ever want to eat in one bowl.
  4. Low-Fat Kale Pizza: The only thing better than a pizza is a low-fat kale pizza.
  5. Kale Chips: An oldie but goodie, these chewy chips pack a salty punch.
  6. Kale Chef’s Salad: With supporting ingredients like egg, avocado, and vinaigrette, this kale salad makes for an ideal office lunch.
  7. Butternut Squash, Kale, and Crunchy Pepitas Taco: Time to give your carne asada tacos a creamy, high-fiber upgrade.

(MORE: We Just Saved You $14 With This DIY Ramen Recipe)

TIME advice

The Best Way to Approach a Tough Conversation With Your Significant Other

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Licensed master social worker Jennifer Gatti has the answer

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

Question: My girlfriend’s parents are very involved in her life. She’s an only child, so I get it, but she talks to them every day and wants me to talk to them every day, too. I don’t even talk to my own parents that much, so why should I be expected to talk to hers? How do I get them to back off and give us some space?

(MORE: When Lying Is Actually Your Best Option)

Response by Jennifer Gatti, Licensed Master Social Worker: Every day, huh? Well, on one hand, it’s nice that family is important to her, and her efforts to share those values with you is a good indicator of how she feels about you and your future together. On the other hand, if your present time together is dominated by struggling to make small talk with middle-aged Midwesterners about what happened on The Big Bang Theory, then it’s time to set some boundaries.

First of all, people can be extremely sensitive when it comes to their families, so you shouldn’t approach her as if there’s anything wrong or weird about their close relationship. Because, first of all, there isn’t. Second of all, you risk offending her. An accusatory “Why do you talk to your parents so much?” might not be received as well as an observant “Wow, your family seems so much closer than mine.”

(MORE: 1 In 5 Men Admit To Committing Partner Violence)

In general, making gentle, curious statements will get you closer to understanding someone’s behavior than asking antagonistic questions will. Have a casual talk about her family’s dynamic, and then try sharing your own experiences about how and when you interact with your own parents. Remember that the goal isn’t just to get her to stop shoving the phone in your face, but to manage your expectations about each other individually and as a couple.

I’d also recommend that this discussion be had at a time when you’re not feeling upset about having just had your usual, perfunctory conversation with your girlfriend’s parents. It’s best to pick a time when you’re not feeling irritated, a time when you’re both feeling safe and loved. Freaking out and suddenly screaming, “I don’t care about your dad’s cat!” will only make you seem like a jerk. But, if you speak to your girlfriend in a calm manner and with the idea that it will ultimately bring you closer together, you are more likely to have good and productive conversation.

It could be that your girlfriend just loves talking to her parents so much that she wants you to love it too. So, do your best to tread lightly and honestly, making sure to express nothing but respect for her and her parents.

(MORE: Dating Nightmares Come True)

TIME relationships

Why You Need to Talk About Your Partner’s Credit Card Debt

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This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

The modern dating scene is tough — we know that all too well. Finding a great partner feels like hitting the jackpot, so you might be tempted to overlook certain serious red flags in the name of love. But, what if you’re ready to take the next step with your partner and discover that he or she is deep in credit card debt? This is an issue you definitely shouldn’t dismiss — money is one of the main reasons couples fight. Failing to address your partner’s debt before you move in together or get married could cause heartache down the road. So, should you move forward or hit pause? Here’s how to decide.

Consider The Why
Discuss your financial situations. It’s important to get to the bottom of why he or she is dealing with debt. Asking specific questions about how the balance was incurred will give you a better sense of your beloved’s overall level of financial responsibility.For instance, did your partner face a major emergency that they didn’t have the cash to cover? In this case, the debt can be chalked up to an expensive, one-time event. It doesn’t indicate a pattern of irresponsible financial behavior. But, if your partner carries credit card debt due to reckless spending, you should give this some thought. If you budget carefully and live within your means, you might have a hard time coupling up with someone who doesn’t share your values.

(MORE: Why I Don’t Feel Guilty About My Credit Card Debt Anymore)

Consider The How
Next step? Consider how your significant other is dealing with the shortfall to decide if the relationship is worth pursuing. Even if a mountain of credit card debt is the result of frivolous spending, your partner may have realized the blunder. If your mate is taking steps to pay off the balance — moving to a smaller apartment, going out less, taking on an extra job — count these as good signs. Everyone makes mistakes, and working hard to correct a financial misstep means your partner is trying to get on the right track.However, if he or she seems unconcerned about the debt and isn’t making an effort to pay it off, you should take a step back. Credit card debt is a serious financial burden, and your partner should be treating it as such. Ignoring a lingering balance could signal a lack of judgment when it comes to money.

(MORE: Do You Really Need A Credit Card?)

In The End, It All Depends — But Tips Help
Money is a highly personal and emotional topic, so only you can decide if your partner’s credit card debt is a deal-breaker. The important thing is to discuss the issue before taking a major step in your relationship, and keep the lines of communication open. This will help you assess the direction of your partnership and keep you informed about how your mate’s financial situation is evolving.If you want to help improve your partner’s credit card habits, consider sharing these tips: Keep a budget and track your spending — this will keep you from spending more than you can afford to pay off. Pay your bill in full by its due date — you’ll stay out of debt and keep your credit score healthy. Never use more than 30% of your available credit — this will help you achieve and maintain good credit. Read your monthly statement carefully — you’ll be able to spot fraud if it occurs.

The Takeaway
Understanding why your partner is in credit card debt and how he or she is dealing with it is an important step to take before getting serious. Consider it one more stepping stone on the road to finding “the one.”

(MORE: How to Keep Your Finances Safe After a Breakup)

TIME health

4 Ways Health Tracking Apps Can Change Your Life

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This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

Virtually every kind of digital program or app we use is modeled on an analog predecessor. Spreadsheets are the digital iteration of accountant logs, and word processing software is modeled off the good-ol’ sheet of paper. We’re human after all, and we’ve always used record-keeping to help deal with uncertainty and the unknown. Now, throw clever entrepreneurial activity into the mix, and you’ve got some of the most helpful, beefed-up quantified self tools on the market. Being able to track exact data in the ways that apps have enabled us to is one of the most modern ways of curtailing the worries that come with personal data guestimation. Tracking our lives may not be a new concept, but it’s certainly shinier. Here’s how our quest to conquer our own data has evolved on a variety of fronts.


Before: bare bones calendars, pee sticks, or the pull-out method that seventh grade sex-ed rightfully taught us to avoid (personal shout out to my teacher who made us all think that a foreskin looked like the sleeve of her chenille sweater).

Now: Apps like Clue track important signs of fertility cycles like discharge consistency, fertility windows, menstrual regularity, and of course, attempts at fertilization. On a calendar interface, handy color-coordinated graphics display those quantifiable elements in a cohesive, easily digestible visual. In a world divided over the necessity of women’s health initiatives, it feels empowering to be in tune with cycles — a knowledge that provides transparency in regard to the way our reproductive systems function in our daily lives. Tracking the minutiae that apps allow takes this empowerment and the decision-making to a greater level of security and certainty in the things our bodies are doing.

(MORE: 5 Period Tracking Apps)


Before: the Casio stopwatch whose memory will live on in the minds of all who consumed electronics in the ’80s and ’90s. If you don’t remember them, we suggest you watch WarGames to see what kind of technology impressed us then.

Now: Anything we do with our bodies is better when customized, and exercise is no exception. We may suck at some sports, and be incredible at others. This is why the vast array of exercise apps are so exciting. Are you sedentary, and feeling lost on where to start? Apps like Couch-to-5K teach you techniques from square one, keeping track of progress and goals. Are you a seasoned pro who wants to streamline outings? Other apps like RunKeeper serve as simultaneous timekeepers and route-mappers. Tracking the very personal activity that is exercise provides a level of support that could be equated to that of a coach. Literally — many apps have pre-programmed motivational comments that are set to play at various intervals in a workout.


Before: a dog-eared, Weight Watchers-inspired logbook with only the most basic functions of food tracking in the layout. Oh, and a separate book was needed with a list of foods and their proprietary nutrition information.

Now: The most central function is the same across the board. A list of food and meals are entered into their respective breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack slots, and their calories, fats, and proteins, and other important nutrients are tracked. But, instead of shuffling through pages of small guidebooks, a food item’s nutritional information can be sourced through vast databases of restaurant and grocery store goods, as well as preset listings for favorite meals. There’s even barcode scanners for the elusive few items that aren’t listed. These features are standard in apps like MyPlate and LoseIt — and are great even if you’re not trying to lose weight. Tracking food means that we can keep an eye on some of the details about ingredients or sustainability that both greatly affect our health, yet often manage to slip through the cracks.

(MORE: 10 Fitness Apps That Get Results)

Medical Conditions

Before: regular, often-expensive trips to the doctor’s office or crossing your fingers and hoping that apple a day actually contains immune-boosting properties.

Now: Medical tracking — which has been around since the days Bayer enabled diabetics to measure their own glucose levels — goes beyond the level of personal empowerment seen on other fronts to a place that’s vital to our very existence. Having real-time data about the state of our physical existence is a way to catch health hiccups before they become emergencies; this helps to maintain a top quality of life. With fewer guestimations and more exact data, we know when to act and when to relax. Of course, if something really seems off, seeing a professional is still your best bet. But, having the ability to keep tabs on things like sleep cycle measurements or medicine dosages puts more control in the hands of the patient herself, which means less time spent on some of the more menial medical checkups. Even the original diabetes tracking methods have seen a spiffy new user interface on mobile apps.

(MORE: These Apps Just Might Be the Future of Beauty)

TIME Culture

The Best Halloween Movies Streaming Right Now

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Watch 22 of the spookiest thrillers on the Internet

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

It’s movie night, people. It’s dark, it’s chilly, and we’re three weeks out from Halloween. You have an Internet full of streaming spooky thrillers — but how can you possibly pick? Listen, picking the right movie is very important. Like choosing which college to attend or what to name your child, you don’t want to end up with something you’ll regret for the rest of your life.

Don’t freak out yet — you’ve got this. We’ve assembled 22 of the best scary movies currently streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, and Amazon Prime. We’ve broken them down into a super-simple guide to help you figure out the perfect movie to watch based on your mood, platform, and the crowd you’re watching with.

It’s the first Saturday in October. And, life is short, so make this one count. That means taking off your going-out shoes, and parking it on the couch. Now, you just need to find the perfect sweatpants to change into. You can do this.

The Craft

  • What Happens: Four girls dabble in witchcraft and overalls. Hijinks ensue.
  • How Scary Is It: If you’re creeped out by snakes, run.
  • Why Should I Watch It: You miss chokers and Fairuza Balk.
  • Where Can I Find It: Crackle, Amazon Prime.
  • Who Do I Watch With: Your lady friends and wine and some more wine.

The Moth Diaries

  • What Happens: Sexy new girl comes to boarding school and makes it rain blood. Roommate has trouble adjusting.
  • How Scary Is It: Like all vampires, these are way too emo to scare anyone.
  • Why Should I Watch It: You’re into vampires but can’t stand Twilight or True Blood.
  • Where Can I Find It: Hulu.
  • Who Do I Watch With: A friend you might like to be more than a friend. Or a friend you might like to rain blood upon. Either way, this’ll get you in the mood.


  • What Happens: Best. Prom. Ever.
  • How Scary Is It: Mean girls, first periods, AND telekinesis? This one’s not for wimps.
  • Why Should I Watch It: You’ve been royally screwed and feel like burning down someone’s house, dropping the mic, and leaving.
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix, Amazon Prime.
  • Who Do I Watch With: Your high school BFF (the one who got picked on by Casey R., too).

Rosemary’s Baby

  • What Happens: Couple’s new apartment might be next door to Satan worshippers, but it has two bathrooms and a working fireplace, so…
  • How Scary Is It: Enough to make you move to the suburbs.
  • Why Should I Watch It: You’ve never seen this before and are sick of everyone bugging you about it (but seriously get on this ASAP. What is your problem?).
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix.
  • Who Do I Watch With: The understanding that you probably cannot pull of this haircut.

The Human Centipede: First Sequence

  • What Happens: Google it.
  • How Scary Is It: I mean, did you Google it?
  • Why Should I Watch It: Someone double-dog dared you to.
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix, Amazon Prime, and ideally, the smallest screen possible.
  • Who Do I Watch With: A barf bag.

American Psycho

  • What Happens: Businessman has a real case of the Mondays.
  • How Scary Is It: As scary as the face Christian Bale is making here.
  • Why Should I Watch It: You’re into sex, drugs, and murdering hookers with chainsaws.
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix.
  • Who Do I Watch With: A dude.

(MORE: “Let Her Go!” Or, Every Action Movie Ever)


  • What Happens: Couple loses their child and somehow things get worse from there.
  • How Scary Is It: Well, there’s really no PG version of genital self-mutilation is there?
  • Why Should I Watch It: You’ve seen Lars Von Trier and you know what you’re getting into.
  • Where Can I Find It: Hulu, Netflix.
  • Who Do I Watch With: Someone who won’t mind when you ask to turn it off and watch I Love Lucy reruns instead.


  • What Happens: Woman doesn’t believe in ghosts. We don’t want to spoil it for you but she might be wrong.
  • How Scary Is It: Good luck sleeping tonight/ever!
  • Why Should I Watch It: This scared the bejeesus out of you as a kid but, damn it, you’re a grown-up now. Bring it, Candyman.
  • Where Can I Find It: Crackle, Netflix.
  • Who Do I Watch With: No one, if you’re such a big, tough, grown-up. (JK, never watch this with less than five people.)

The Gift

  • What Happens: Local psychic is pulled into a murder investigation where Keanu Reeves is the prime suspect. Seriously.
  • How Scary Is It: Imagine getting startled by a car backfiring outside, over and over again, for two hours.
  • Why Should I Watch It: You want to be scared by Cate Blanchett’s killer performance and amused by Katie Holmes’ horrrrrrible southern accent.
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix.
  • Who Do I Watch With: Katie Holmes, ideally. Just so you can ask her to translate.


  • What Happens: The boogeyman is real, you guys.
  • How Scary Is It: The truth of this tale is far more horrific than the fiction.
  • Why Should I Watch It: You grew up locking your bedroom window, lest Cropsey come in and kidnap you.
  • Where Can I Find It: Crackle, Netflix.
  • Who Do I Watch With: Your friend who’s too cool for anything but documentaries.

The Lady Vanishes

  • What Happens: The lady vanishes.
  • How Scary Is It: Well, it’s not Antichrist, but it’s not Sesame Street either.
  • Why Should I Watch It: You’re in a Hitchcock mood.
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix.
  • Who Do I Watch With: Your dad, because he’s been bugging you to watch this for, like, ever.

(MORE: The Not-So-Sexy Way Hollywood Makes Sex Scenes)


  • What Happens: Town is terrorized by serial killer who does NOT care for Drew Barrymore movies.
  • How Scary Is It: It was written by the same guy who created Dawson’s Creek. It’s about as scary as Dawson’s was serious and important: EXTREMELY.
  • Why Should I Watch It: Your mom didn’t let you watch it when it came out but you did anyway, then spent the next four months refusing to answer the phone.
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix.
  • Who Do I Watch With: Your mom on speed dial, because she was right — you’re not mature enough to handle this.

The Blair Witch Project

  • What Happens: “Filmmakers” “investigate” a “local legend” in this “documentary.”
  • How Scary Is It: It was meh back then, but with the passage of time it’s still pretty meh.
  • Why Should I Watch It: Back in the day, your friend told you this was real and you’d like to see just what an idiot you were for believing him.
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix, Amazon Prime.
  • Who Do I Watch With: That same jerk friend, ideally. Make him pay for the pizza and beer.


  • What Happens: Woman spends all weekend in her pajamas, but it’s not as awesome as it sounds.
  • How Scary Is It: As scary as the insidious threat of misogyny endemic to contemporary culture. Also, WTF, there are hands coming out of the walls!
  • Why Should I Watch It: You’re feeling more psychological-thriller than pop-out-and-scare-you. Also, if you’d like to see Catherine Deneuve manage to look super cute while going cuh-razy.
  • Where Can I Find It: Crackle.
  • Who Do I Watch With: The film major you’re trying to impress.

Single White Female

  • What Happens: Bridget Fonda’s roommate just wants to hang out. Why is she being so weird about it?
  • How Scary Is It: It’s tough to beat mid-90s Jennifer Jason Leigh in terms of creepiness.
  • Why Should I Watch It: Your roommate sucks and you’re looking for justification to kick her out.
  • Where Can I Find It: Hulu, Netflix.
  • Who Do I Watch With: Your roommate. Maybe she’ll take the hint. Or she’ll try to kill you. Still, it’s worth a shot.

House on Haunted Hill

  • What Happens: Rich guy pits strangers against each other for his own amusement because he doesn’t have a job and his jet ski’s in the shop.
  • How Scary Is It: I think the mustache speaks for itself, here.
  • Why Should I Watch It: You secretly miss haunted houses.
  • Where Can I Find It: Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime.
  • Who Do I Watch With: Someone who definitely won’t kill you for $10,000.

(MORE: 20 Twist Endings We WON’T Spoil For You)

The Silence of the Lambs

  • What Happens: Newbie FBI agent is just trying to catch a killer and not get her face eaten off, thankyouverymuch.
  • How Scary Is It: The creepy, British cannibal is actually a good guy compared to the film’s real villain.
  • Why Should I Watch It: You’re down for some cannibalism as long as it’s classy cannibalism.
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix.
  • Who Do I Watch With: Some fava beans, a nice chianti, and the lotion in the basket.


  • What Happens: Serial killer taunts the police with cryptic letters and ciphers because it’s not enough to just kill a bunch of people.
  • How Scary Is It: Imagine a really, really long episode of Law & Order: SVU.
  • Why Should I Watch It: You’re into unsolved mysteries and dudes in flared jeans.
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix.
  • Who Do I Watch With: Susan Miller.


  • What Happens: Kids find a dead guy and a VHS tape and they’re all, “Holy shit, a VHS tape!”
  • How Scary Is It: The scares are cheap but they get the job done.
  • Why Should I Watch It: You have a thing for “found footage” and a short attention span.
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix, Amazon Prime.
  • Who Do I Watch With: A wide-mesh sweater you can hide inside but still look through.

Children of the Corn

  • What Happens: Kids run a successful farming community despite complete lack of bedtimes.
  • How Scary Is It: Uh, are you seeing this kid?
  • Why Should I Watch It: You’re scared of children IRL.
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix, Amazon Prime.
  • Who Do I Watch With: Two forms of birth control.

The Glass House

  • What Happens: Kids lose their mom and dad in a car accident, but it’s cool because their godparents have a sick beach house.
  • How Scary Is It: As scary as browsing a delia*s catalogue in the dark.
  • Why Should I Watch It: You totally forgot about Leelee Sobieski.
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix.
  • Who Do I Watch With: A sense of irony.

Funny Games

  • What Happens: Teenagers are the worst.
  • How Scary Is It: If you have to ask…
  • Why Should I Watch It: You are NOT messing around.
  • Where Can I Find It: Netflix.
  • Who Do I Watch With: The door locked, the lights on, and strong will to live, because this movie will effectively destroy your faith in humanity.

Happy Halloween!

TIME Food & Drink

7 Beers to Try This October

Getty Images

Prost, folks!

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

Oktoberfest, originally a celebration honoring the marriage of German nobles, has become virtually synonymous with brews. In past years, the event has drawn a whopping seven million visitors and served almost two million gallons of beer over the span of 16 or 17 days.

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That’s a lot of suds. Stateside, Oktoberfest also seems to reinforce that imminent seasonal shift in beer tastes, especially when it comes to what’s on tap. Hoppy IPAs and super-crisp pilsners are swapped out for maltier fare, and just as pumpkin spice lattes fill Starbucks cups nationwide, so, too, do pumpkin ales fill our pint glasses. So, in seeking to honor Oktoberfest (as well as the changing of the seasons), we tapped, poured, tipped, and sipped in order to bring you autumn’s best beers — including a traditional German Oktoberfest, a not-so-traditional California style, and that fall favorite, pumpkin ale. Prost, folks!

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  1. Left Hand Oktoberfest
    Brewed in Denver, Left Hand’s top-notch Oktoberfest plays beautifully right alongside the more traditional German brews. On the nose, you’ll find sweet, orange-peel notes, but this Märzen is toasty through and through, with a super-smooth finish.
  2. Firestone Walker Brewing Company Oaktoberfest
    Yes, this is an Oktoberfest from California (the oak in the name pays homage to the brewery’s home in Paso Robles, or “pass of the oaks”). But that doesn’t mean this beer can’t hang with its Bavarian brethren. It’s malty, toasty, ever so subtly hoppy, but not at all heavy — just like an Oktoberfestbier should be.
  3. Weihenstephaner Korbinian
    While this doppelbock (a dark, full-bodied lager) may not pour at Munich’s Oktoberfest celebration, Weihenstephan (reportedly the oldest brewery in the world) still adheres to the German Berr-Purity Law of 1516. This brew is going to be the heaviest of the bunch, with exceptionally rich, toasty malts; beautiful, fruity flavors; and a smooth finish.
  4. Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale
    Of course, no fall beer list is complete without a pumpkin ale. Typically, though, these brews are too sweet or heavy for those looking to throw back a second round. Captain Lawrence’s version turns down the volume on the sweetness, pumpkin, and spice, leaving you with an autumnal beer that’s easy-drinking, surprisingly refreshing, and a solid option for this early fall weather.
  5. Spaten Oktoberfestbier Ur-Märzen
    It doesn’t get more traditional than Spaten’s Oktoberfest. The brewery is one of only six permitted to serve up their suds at Munich’s annual fest, which requires that all Oktoberfestbier conform to the beer- purity regulation Reinheitsgebot, dictating that no brew can be made from ingredients other than water, barley, hops, and yeast. This beer is light, with toasty malt, and finishes with a slight, hoppy bite — the perfect way to greet the season.
  6. Bell’s Best Brown Ale
    Here’s how to get your malt with a little extra oomph. This English brown ale has those same smooth, toasty qualities as the Oktoberfest beers, but you’ll find a bit more depth and complexity with this style. Notes of cocoa and even some blackberry come out to play here, but nothing in this beer overwhelms the palate.
  7. Ommegang Rare Vos
    Malty beers come out in full force this season, but if you’re seeking something that still has an autumnal vibe but doesn’t make you feel like you’re drinking bread-beer, Ommegang’s Belgian pale ale is your go-to. The floral hops are mellowed by the Belgian yeast, and the whole brew has a slightly spicy, somewhat-fruity quality. It’s a lovely, crisp beer, perfect for warmer fall days, or that late-October chill.

(MORE: A Hilarious Takedown Of Your Pumpkin Spice Latte Tweets)

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