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2/9/2015
My friends mean the world to me. At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, these are ladies I’ve road-tripped, carpooled, celebrated and vented with. That deserves a little something! 1) Set up a GNO—a Girl’s Night Over. Invite your besties to your house for conversation and cocktails. Whip up a batch of drinks, settle on the couch and catch up! Top to Bottom:... More
2/6/2015
Want to grow some tasty obscure veggies to serve family and friends? Me, too. After all, why should tomatoes get all the garden love? After overplaying my tomato hand yet again last year, I ended up with more salsa than sense. So this year I’m saving some soil to try something new—or something so old that it seems new again. Fortunately, one of the most diverse resources for little... More
2/4/2015
In the dead of winter on the North Dakota prairie, I find beauty across the vast landscape. The crisp, cold air of winter provides a natural canvas for brilliant colors, especially at sunrise and sunset.  Each minute of daylight is precious. I like knowing that after the first day of winter, we have a little more sunlight to savor each day. Winters in... More
2/2/2015
Even though most of the Midwest got only a dusting of snow in January, our Instagrammers loved the beauty of frosty landscapes and the winter sky. The five most-liked photos of the month:  "This is why we endure our long, cold Michigan winters," wrote @tara12891 (http://instagram.com/p/yPX5ZAmzQn/). A spectacular shot of the South Haven, Michigan lighthouse!  We... More
1/30/2015
Romance is in the eye of the beholder. In Chicago, you can have your fill of traditional romance—horse-drawn carriages, candlelit meals, roaring fireplaces—or you can venture out and explore some unique options, like an exhibit of historical love letters, a class making lust-worthy chocolate truffles or an Italian adventure (right here in the Midwest). As cupid draws his arrow in... More
1/28/2015
I've been the food editor at Midwest Living for nearly three years, which means I've had the delicious privilege of testing and publishing something like 300 recipes. Or is it 400? I don't even know. Somewhere around the 27th way to use a rotisserie chicken, I started to lose track. But what's incredible is that the dishes I've tested are just the tip of a very large and... More
1/26/2015
“Free” is such a beautiful word. Especially when it’s paired with something really cool to see or do. My hometown of Madison offers a wealth of free or low-cost entertainment options to keep you entertained while your wallet stays full. Here are some of my favorites. 1) Olbrich Botanical Gardens Wander 16 acres of outdoor specialty gardens at Olbrich, including a... More
1/23/2015
More than 100 years ago, the Ball family brought its glass factory from New York to Muncie, Indiana, to take advantage of huge deposits of natural gas that could be used in glass production. Ball's glass canning jars revolutionized food preservation, and as Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company thrived, the family gave back to the community. Ball moved to Colorado... More
1/21/2015
Our home has four sets of built-in shelves. Luckily, bookshelves are one of my favorite things to decorate because they offer a chance to display what you love in a way that adds character and depth to a space. I've picked up a few tricks along the way as I've carefully filled each nook and cranny with items that are beautiful, meaningful and functional. 1. Pick a color palette.... More
1/19/2015
Take a fantastical walk through free-form nature art in Minnesota’s new Ice Castle. “It looks like a fairy’s ice rink!” exclaims my 10-year-old daughter, Katie, as she peeks over a ledge near a frozen waterfall, runs to an icy archway and disappears. This man-made frozen destination opened January 9 in Eden Prairie’s Miller Park (20 minutes... More