A quirky 2D cafe, a green sauce you'll want to spoon over everything, hand-sewn pennants and more, all curated by our writers and editors.


women at optical illusion cafe
Credit: Courtesy of 2D Restaurant

Optical Illusion

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you: That's not a drawing. It's a real cafe, meant to look likea drawing. Are you following? 2d Restaurant in Chicago is the first of its kind in the Midwest, and one of only a few in the U.S. Monochromatic hand-drawn designs cover every surface, creating the illusion of stepping into a whimsical French storybook. The cafes are popular in Asia (any To All the Boys I've Loved Before fans here?), so 2d's owners, Kevin Yu and Vanessa Thanh Vu, nod to that with mochi donuts and Vietnamese coffee.

Under the Sea

Divers, rejoice! A vast swath of Lake Michigan has been designated as the Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary. This 962-square-mile area holds a trove of maritime heritage, including 36 shipwrecks (of which 27 are on the National Register of Historic Places). The newly protected waters are expected to bring a flood of tourism and recreation.

artwork Waterfall with Willow Tree by Roshunda Holt
Credit: Courtesy of Envision

Please Touch

A new permanent art gallery in Wichita is the first created by and for blind or visually impaired artists in the United States. Patrons are encouraged to interact with the tactile pieces using senses beyond just sight. Funded by Envision, a nonprofit that furthers opportunities for the visually impaired, the Envision Arts Gallery also includes navigational tape, Braille cards and QR codes for audio descriptions.


treger strasberg homeowner kitchen humble design
Credit: Courtesy of Humble Design

No Place Like Home

Couches on the front lawn. Cribs in the driveway. When Treger Strasberg asked her Michigan neighbors to donate furniture for an acquaintance transitioning out of homelessness, she found herself with a surplus. So her one-time act of kindness became a new endeavor: With friend Ana Smith, Strasberg founded Humble Design; her husband, Rob, joined the team, too (top left). The nonprofit, which has chapters in five states, collects preloved furniture, home goods and decor, which interior designers curate to fully furnish the new homes of families moving out of shelters. "A bed is not a bed," Strasberg says. "A bed is a place to dream and feel safe. It's not just furniture. It's love. It's pride. It's dignity."

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

farmer's fridge jarred salad southwest product
Credit: Courtesy of Farmer's Fridge

No Sad Lunches

Originally sold from vending machines in Chicago, Farmer's Fridge jarred salads and
bowls are now also available by mail. Favorites like Southwest Salad or Smoked Cheddar Cobb arrive reliably (almost shockingly) fresh. My daughter and I have loved every one we've tried. From $6. - Mary-Beth Rouse, Creative Director 

wild isles swim bikini two-piece bating suit teal
Credit: Courtesy of Wild Isles

Suit Yourself

Minnesota pals Alyssa Meyer and Laura Heurung cofounded Wild Isles to help ample-chested women find comfortable, well-fitting swimsuits. The responsibly sourced line features (cute!) supportive, underwire-free pieces for cups C through H, with stretch for fit.


maazah farsi afghan chutney sauce green condiment spoon
Credit: Carson Downing

Step Aside, Ketchup

The Sajady sisters grew up dousing rice, eggs and meat in their mother's Magic Green Sauce, a punchy, fresh Afghan chutney made of cilantro and ginger. Today, the three Minneapolis women (plus Mom) sell a trio of sauces—original, hot and vegan aioli under the brand Maazah, Farsi for "flavor." Trust us, you'll want to spoon it on every meal too. $9 for 8 ounces.

kiomi printed linen crosback apron
Credit: Courtesy of Kiomi

Wrapped in Pattern

Maria Garcia stitches the prettiest printed and linen crossback aprons at her home in Des Moines. - Erin Keefer, Assistant Art Director

To order, visit @kiomi_dsm on Instagram and send Maria Garcia a direct message. From $55.

Roasted Stone Fruit

Oven to...Everywhere

For breakfast, try Roasted Stone Fruit with yogurt or cottage cheese. Chop it into smaller pieces to layer on toast spread with cream cheese, ricotta or goat cheese. Pile it in a lettuce salad with chicken or salmon. Serve it with grilled pork. Or take it to the sweet side, paired with whipped cream, pound cake or butter pecan ice cream.

Home + Garden

rosemary lavender mint herb bundles
Credit: Carson Downing

Herb Appeal

When my pots of herbs start to overflow, I plan to put them to use in my bathroom, tying bundles of lavender, rosemary and mint (plus some eucalyptus from the grocery store) with twine to hang over my showerhead. The steam releases the leaves' fragrant oils for some natural aromatherapy. - Joanna Linberg, Contributing Home Editor

ohio studio's headlamp hand-sewn pennants midwest cleveland great lakes
Credit: Courtesy of Studio Headlamp

Flag Day

Summer-camp vibes are just two small tacks away. Shout out to your hometown or fave vacation spot with hand-sewn, grommeted duck canvas pennants ($38) and flags (from $48) by Ohio's Studio Headlamp. Get 20 percent off your first order with code WILD20. 

neutral bedroom warm tones nadine stay
Credit: Courtesy of Danica Gadeken

Feed to Follow

Danica Gadeken is out to lower the stakes on decorating. The champ DIY-er, former pro furniture refurbisher and design-school grad populates her Instagram and website with projects of all sizes—like the home remodel near Lincoln, Nebraska, that she and her husband are finishing this summer. Add hyperexact instructions to her "you can do it" attitude, and all intimidation fades. "There's something so empowering about transforming something on your own," she says.