Growing up, I was obsessed with magazines. I was especially loyal to New Moon, a magazine for girls written by girls. At the time (the early 2000s), it was published in black and white — honestly, more like cream and sepia, if my memory serves me correctly — and it had no photographs, only illustrations, but I would sit down and devour it from cover to cover. I was a weird kid and had trouble making friends at school and New Moon was a lifeline for me. (To be fair, I’ve recently reviewed some photos of myself from that time, and ah, yes, I get it. Not gonna say it was deserved, but…)
ANYWAY. This is not a post about my embarrassing childhood photos. (Should it be, though?) Sitting down with this magazine every month was one of the few things that helped me feel less weird and less alone. I even flew down to Florida one year for New Moon’s summer camp, where I met a ton of other cool and smart girls who went on to do incredible things in adulthood. (If you’re a parent with a girl 8-12, I can’t recommend New Moon enough!!!)
The other thing that brought me solace every week? The People magazine crossword puzzle. I don’t know what it was about the crossword, but I loved doing it — even after I moved out, my mom kept back issues in a basket near the dining table so I could fill them out when I’d come home for the holidays.
I think these magazines both provided a bit of a safety net — structured leisure time, where I could disconnect from the world and my seemingly-insurmountable tween problems — and BOY. Looking back, I WANT THAT AGAIN. (Except for, you know, turns out that my tween problems were surmountable and now I have adult problems.) So in the throes of 2020, I found myself re-engaging with an old love: I started re-subscribing to magazines.
AND Y’ALL, I LOVE IT. After spending 6 months straight sitting in my dining room and staring at my desktop 7 days a week, the reprieve I get from getting into my comfy chair, grabbing some wine, opening a magazine, and reading it cover-to-cover — including the articles I wouldn’t have clicked on if I had seen them in the wild on the internet — has been downright luxurious. What was once relegated to an a la carte purchase in the checkout aisle or at the airport has been upgraded to a mainstay in my life…and I enjoy it so much that I’m making the time for *a few* more reads in my weekly schedule.
The bonus kicker: I also literally just discovered that you could subscribe to magazines from Amazon and manage everything from your prime account, which was the final nail in my coffin — a year of Real Simple for $5! A year of Better Homes & Gardens for $5! A year of Martha Stewart Living for, you guessed it, $5! — and now I need to know which ones are worth subscribing to. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITES? Here are mine so far…
I thiiiiink this may be my favorite design magazine that I’ve looked at because it’s a little more forward-thinking and bold. It feels a little bit quirky and kind of like a blog come to life, which is exactly what I love. (“Is Your Child a Decorating Dictator” is THE BEST HEADLINE OF ALL TIME.) I’m a pretty new subscriber but from what I can tell, I think it comes 9 times a year. They also just announced their new Editor in Chief, Asad Syrkett (formerly of Curbed), so I’m REALLY excited to see where they’re going.
Not through Amazon (sorry) buuuuut I originally subscribed to Dwell to get access to Dwell+ — it’s the only place I’ve found that’s published detailed renovation budgets in their Budget Breakdown series. This intel, to me, is absolutely worth the price of admission PLUS the print copy is beautiful and it only comes 6 times a year, so it doesn’t take up too much space.
MY OG. This is my longest-running subscription on the list. I know The New Yorker gets some flack for being dry, but I firmly disagree! It’s the only place where I can find actual news mixed with profiles and humor writing — there’s something for everyone in here. It comes weekly (occasionally biweekly) so this is the only one that’s really starting to pile up in my house. (Are y’all instant recyclers, or do you have a magazine rack set up? How do you wrangle these?)
House Beautiful was traditionally my airport magazine of choice — I used to fly monthly and I basically have the whole 2019 backlog in a still-zipped portion of my carry-on — but since that’s off the table, I had to subscribe. The photography is stunning, the content is actually timely, and 8 issues a year is an ideal amount.
So extravagant and stunning!!! This one takes me the longest to get through because I spend a ton of time staring at the photos, then finding everything online, then pinning everything, THEN reading the actual copy. The homes are definitely all architecturally interesting — the whole magazine definitely leans more towards “rich and famous” than “making it work” — but WOW, it’s nice to dream about what my future home would look like if I were loaded and able to buy a beautiful fancy house.
BUT OK. I think I have the time to dedicate to 4 or 5 more magazines on top of these, so what do you suggest???? WHAT’S GOOD?? I love news — I used to subscribe to The Economist, so I’m definitely considering that again — but what else is out there? Should I go for Em’s fav, The Atlantic? Grab 4 issues a year of my go-to inspo site, Domino? Is Reader’s Digest fun? Is Vanity Fair worth it? Bon Appetit? Wired? National Geographic? HGTV Magazine? What other home publications should I add to my reading list? WHAT SAY YOU???
PS. If you wanna triple down on your good work (since, ya know, you’re already supporting print journalists AND supporting the USPS), you can grab a carbon offset credit here for less than $5, which should offset the impacts of nearly 500 magazines 🙂 NOW let’s talk about your favorites!!