My fitness tracker wristband registered 22,576 steps the first day of last month’s Kitchen and Bath Show in Las Vegas—roughly 12 miles for me. But who’s counting when you’re on a treasure hunt for smart design? Overall, our editors noticed an upbeat mood as manufacturers focused on modern styles, innovative technology and handcrafted finishes. In detail, there was more brass, mixed metals, LED lighting inside cabinets and gray finishes. Here are a few finds we especially liked:
If you are like me, the words Hula-Hoop make you think of kneeling down to pick a pink circle of plastic up off the grass, trying to swing it around your waist only to watch it twirl to the ground, then picking it back up again. The Hula-Hoops of my childhood were weighted down by gravity to an astounding degree.
Before we leave the month of presidents’ birthdays, let’s ponder for one moment longer one of history’s most-pondered people: Illinois’ own Abe Lincoln. We never seem to tire of this roughhewn Midwesterner who already has countless towns named after him, his face carved into a mountain and enough books written about him to form another small mountain.
Even in this era of Google Reader and text alerts blasting headlines at us throughout the day, you still sometimes get your news via your parents calling on the phone to read the hometown paper aloud. So it happened a week ago when my dad called from outside Lincoln, Nebraska, and said, “Did you hear what happened to this young farmer you met who was using the horses?”
With the Olympics in Sochi underway, Americans are in the midst of their two-week obsession with sports they generally forget about for the other 1,446 days of the Olympic cycle. As you’re watching the downhill skiing in particular this time around, you should feel special pride in the Midwest’s role in the sport, at least at the recreational level. Because, although few realize it, those of us here in the region better known for hockey and the occasional curling match play a key part in the American skiing industry.
Our Instagrammers were inspired last month by the frozen beauty of the Midwest, especially after Arctic temperatures created almost otherworldly scenes along the Great Lakes. Here are our five most-liked Instagram photos of the month:
#1: A Midwest winter wonderland scene in Minnesota by @jlfiala (http://instagram.com/p/ioVMo1GzaM/).
Can you remember your first trip to a library? Well, I can’t quite place mine either. But I easily recall the excitement of walking out with a stack of books of my own choosing, all in exchange for the simple act of filling out a little card with my name on it. To this point in life, I’d been taught to not even think about leaving the premises with rental roller skates or ugly bowling shoes. But here I was taking 20 books anywhere I wanted, no questions asked. See you back here in three weeks.
The February morning in South Dakota’s Black Hills dawned clear and cold. I had two options for the day: Peer into a hole on Pactola Lake alongside some buddies on an ice-fishing mission or check a hike to Harney Peak off my bucket list. The fishing had been slow to this point, so I headed for the Sylvan Lake trailhead and set out.
January is almost half gone, and the same thing might be said for most of your New Year’s resolutions. (It gets easier to find an available treadmill at our gym every day.) But one promise to yourself that’s probably easier to keep than you think is to eat local more often in 2014. In fact, several Midwest states provide such an embarrassment of riches on this front that if we don’t make some effort to eat local, we should feel as sheepish as a Denver resident who can’t ski.