Get ready for the new season with a boutique campground in Illinois, prairie-inspired greeting cards, a DIY pistachio wheat stalks craft and more, all curated by our writers and editors.
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Travel

camp aramoni front porch illinois
Credit: Courtesy of Starboard & Port Creative

Camp Out

There's camping, and there's glamping—and then there's Camp Aramoni. Built on a 19th-century brickyard near Starved Rock State Park in Illinois (100 miles southwest of Chicago), the boutique campground includes 11 safari-style tents that sleep two to six people. They're outfitted with comfortable furnishings, high-end linens and real doors (no flimsy flaps). Breakfast, dinner and nightly gourmet s'mores are included with your stay. Grab a cocktail from The Burlington bar in a restored Airstream and watch the sun set over the Vermilion River. We loved every detail of our stay at Camp Aramoni. The tents include heat and air-conditioning, as well as en suite bathrooms. Oh, and also a private firepit with a stash of wood. From $450; two-night minimum stay required.

Something Brewing

I'm excited for the late-fall opening of Brewhalla, a massive entertainment complex in Fargo, North Dakota, from the folks at Drekker Brewing. Plans include a market and food hall, event space, and a hotel, where each of the 40 rooms will be themed to a different Drekker beer. (Hotel staff can even stock the latest brews in the mini fridge.) In the food hall, you'll be able to chow down on pizza, charcuterie, oysters and gelato from local small businesses.—Alicia Underlee Nelson, MWL Writer

lindsey ranzau minnesota portrait
Credit: Courtesy of Lindsey Ranzau

Feed to Follow

Lindsey Ranzau grew up hearing that Minnesota was "the best place to take a vacation from." She made it her goal to change that mentality and show the world the many adventures found in her state. She travels with her husband and 1-year-old, sharing weekend itineraries, outdoor adventures and fun day-trip ideas on her Instagram—all along with family-friendly travel tips.

Life

graduation at latino center
Credit: Nate Van Haute

All in the Family

Omaha high schooler Andrew Genchi-Bello was struggling with his grades when he found Latino Center of the Midlands. The community center's Pathways to Success program not only helped him graduate, but introduced him to gardening and volunteering—distributing food from its urban agriculture program and learning how food insecurity impacts community health. He represents one of thousands of people Latino Center has helped since 1971. Diverse programming includes workforce education courses (such as ESL and computer classes), after-school kids' activities, and wellness opportunities like Zumba classes and cooking demos. The Latino Center also works to elevate its neighborhood of South Omaha. "It can have a stigma at times," says Nate Van Haute, marketing and communications manager. "When people come to see it, they're in shock about how vibrant and familial it is."

As part of our Good Neighbors program, highlighting unique Midwest nonprofits and individuals making our communities stronger, Midwest Living has donated $500 to Latino Center of the Midlands.

prairy market prints
Credit: Carson Downing

Grass Roots

Having moved home to the Midwest from the West Coast, I love the greeting cards and prints sold by Prairy Market and Deli in Newton, Kansas. Featuring tallgrass prairie plants (and their amazing roots), they are both pretty and educational—and 1 percent of proceeds supports prairie conservation. From $3.50

marrying the ketchups novel
Credit: Brie Passano

Marrying the Ketchups

This hilariously woven novel from Chicago native Jennifer Close follows the wildly different yet equally endearing members of a restaurant family in the city's suburbs. Expect funny romance, colorful language, '90s music, the Cubs—and lots of food (Marrying the Ketchups, Knopf, $28).

Food

wisconsin soup company vegetable bowl
Credit: Courtesy of Wisconsin Soup Company

The Gift of Soup

Steve Wenhardt's hearty soups are truly the best. I love to send them to friends and family as a cozy, time-saving gift.—Lauren McAnelly, Food Stylist

Wisconsin Soup Company sells in metro Milwaukee and other nearby cities, plus ships nationwide. From $15 per quart. 

bread head book
Credit: Courtesy of W.W. Norton

Bread Head

Ready to level up your pandemic sourdough? Invite Greg Wade into the kitchen. In his first book, out this fall, the James Beardwinning baker of Publican Quality Bread in Chicago shares recipes for carbs from around the globe. The Rye Focaccia and French Galette de Rois are not to be missed (Bread Head, W.W. Norton, $45).

Extra-Good Hot Chocolate

Extra-Good Hot Chocolate

Serve this rich and creamy cocoa topped with whipped cream and dusted with cocoa powder or—for fall feels—cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg. A new mug makes it feel even cozier. Our current ceramics crush: Camp Mugs from A Question of Eagles, a husband-wife studio in Indianapolis. $48.

Home + Garden

nutshell crafting mimicking wheat kernels
Credit: Carson Downing

In a Nutshell

Turn your snacking into crafting. A handful of pistachios can easily become a creative harvest centerpiece that you can display in vases or jars—just make sure you save the shells as you nosh. First, trim the point from a bamboo skewer. Hot glue a pistachio shell to the tip. (A low-temperature glue is good for this project, to avoid burns.) Hold in place until the glue dries. Repeat with another shell, overlapping the side of the first slightly. Continue in an offset pattern, mimicking wheat kernels, until you've covered about 2 inches of the skewer.

Leave the wheat au naturel, or soak the shells in a dye bath first. (Rit works great.) See our video of how these stalks come together (and for some dyeing tips). 

jackie wasinger paint-by-number kits
Credit: Courtesy of Jackie Wasinger

Numbers Game

I paint to relax, so I like the idea of inspiring my friends and daughters (and you!) to do the same. Enter Jackie Wasinger, who sells paint-by-number kits via Etsy from her home in Shawnee, Kansas. Her minimalist designs are beginner-friendly, and the color palettes dreamy. Each kit comes in a muslin bag with a tip sheet, perfect for gifting—if only to yourself. $26.

Dzinly Before and After Home Exterior
Credit: Courtesy of Dzinly

Outside Help

If your curb appeal lacks, well, appeal, Detroit landscape designer and architect Matt Mosher is ready to help. Send a pic of your home (and some exterior inspiration) to his team of pros at Dzinly and in a few days, receive a custom rendering for a glow-up. From $99.