Friday, March 18, 2011

Wherein I share my hidden secret:

I have a not-so-secret addiction to magazines. Back in the states, I used to love going to Borders, picking up every magazine that intrigued me, and sitting down in their comfy chairs in the cafe area. I know behavior like this is probably what led to Borders closing so many of their retail outlets, so maybe they should take away the comfortable reading nooks? Either way, it doesn't concern me anymore. Being in Japan, I don't have access to any chain bookstores willing to let me loaf an evening away with coffee and a huge stack of glossy magazines.

I recently discovered Amazon's magazine subscription function and realized this is how magazines should be purchased! The prices are ridiculously low, as in $0.25 per issue during some promotions. The drawback is that to take advantage of the promotional pricing, you need to agree to an auto-renewal after a year at Amazon's lowest price - which could skyrocket. Needless to say, I'll be keeping an eye on my subscription deadlines and cancelling them to get another great deal next year.

The other great function is perfect for a military spouse like me, or anyone who will be moving frequently: you can manage all your contact information through the Amazon page instead of contacting each magazine publisher individually.

I found a few magazines that I either found interesting, or couldn't resist due to the low price (Redbook!?):

Wired ($10/year): This is my new favorite magazine! I used to get my dose of nerd culture from Popular Mechanics, but this magazine has a sense of humor, appeals to a younger demographic, and features editorials about ideas rather than products. What really won me over was reading a hair dryer review that was written by a woman and described every characteristic in detail, without any childish fonts or pink background. There wasn't even a woman provocatively posed with long, sexy hair to complement the article! Wow, Wired: you get me!

Popular Mechanics ($7/year): It's like reading science fiction! I'm not an engineer or an inventor, but I love to see and imagine how far the human brain can extend itself. I think Popular Mechanics is more fun than Popular Science, and it's really interesting to look back at issues from the years past to see how starry-eyed people were over seemingly simple inventions or processes. There is always a place in my heart for a flying car.

Yes, Redbook ($3/year): I think this is more for older women with kids, but it is fun to see how they do practical outfits inspired by glamorous pieces. They also feature beauty products that cost less than a million dollars per ounce, so it's a bit more accessible.

O, The Oprah Magazine ($13/year): I flip through this when I'm in any waiting room. I appreciate that the articles are engaging, and often span more than a few pages. Oprah's star power brings in really great experts. I can't stand Dr. Phil, but I love Suze Orman's advice. I like that this is a magazine aimed at women, but doesn't focus on looking sexy non-stop. The magazine treats women as people who can and are making huge progress in the world. What a breakthrough.

Allure ($7/year): After my birthday in January, I became an official mid-20-something. Whoa! I feel like I need to start polishing my look and taking care of myself as I get older so that I can stay fresh and relevant. Allure is definitely a fun magazine but hopefully will also be motivation to act more adult and treat myself with care.

ReadyMade ($6.99/year): ReadyMade used to really blow my mind, but something went awry a few years ago that made each issue feel like it wasn't complete. The projects featured in the magazine require tools like bandsaws and large-scale printers. I find them interesting but completely inaccessible. I feel like the magazine is aimed at creative 20-somethings with a sense of playfulness, but most projects require lots of outdoor space, a garage with the latest equipment, my dad's handy-man knowledge, and the luxury of not having a renter's contract. I salivate over the thought of having my own house to trick out some day, so I will just snip out inspiration pictures until I get there. The magazine only comes every other month, so there are enough downsides that I teetered over renewing, but for now, the photography and sometimes-fantastic parts make up for them.

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