Author Archives: Michelle Jones


April Magazine Subscriptions Bring Retirement Issues to the Fore

smartmoney_magazine_subscription_april2011.jpgFor April, two personal finance magazines devote significant chunks of their issues to retirement matters. We’ll preview one today and wrap up tomorrow.

So, let’s start with SmartMoney magazine. Its April cover dominated by a gold watch, this issue discusses what the editors consider to be the five biggest myths about retirement. These aren’t what you think they are, the cover blurbs proclaim. The areas discussed include the necessity of planning to cover what Medicare doesn’t pay immediately or ever; why calculations of your “number”–to borrow language from a popular investment commercial–may be inaccurate; and why you should consider adding bonds to your retirement plan.

Another story in this issue looks at the trend of becoming an expat retiree, a hot topic for a number of personal finance magazines over the last 15 months. This time Panama is the center of the story, and along with stories about learning Spanish, hanging out by the pool and hosting wine tastings, there are points about emergency response, the isolation of the gated communities, and the dangers of buying into unfinished developments.

A final story in SmartMoney’s retirement package talks about nest eggs, specifically how you might need to change how you think about nest eggs to ensure a more economy-proof mix. Appropriately for an April story, this one is illustrated with all sorts of eggs–some cooked in various ways, others covered in gold paint.

Next up: What April’s Forbes magazine has to say about retirement.


Good Housekeeping Magazine Brings Apartment Therapy From the Web to Print

good_housekeeping_magazine_subscription_may2011.jpgYou don’t need an app to save images and ideas from your favorite design blogs (though, of course, such an app does exist); still it’s a nice surprise to find excerpts from one of your favorite blogs in one of your favorite magazines. This month Good Housekeeping magazine pulls examples of stylish small-dwelling living from Apartment Therapy (and the recent book “Apartment Therapy’s Big Book of Small, Cool Places”).

Founded by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan and named for his design firm, the website and its companion blog present a steady stream of decorating ideas and projects, peeks into homes across the country and around the world, and a variety of products and items Gillingham-Ryan describes as stuff he comes across, likes for himself or would recommend to clients.

As shown in the magazine piece, the ideas for “living large in a small space”–Good Housekeeping’s headline for the story was too good not to use here–include using color and scale to transform spaces, disguising flaws, and using every inch of the rooms.

Photos offer views of a bright and airy kitchen, an office fitted into a porch-like space or a closet, and a dramatic bedroom. The palettes range from dark and sophisticated to monochromatic cream to vibrantly colorful.


Seven Ways O, the Oprah Magazine, Puts the O in Poetry this Month

o_the_oprah_magazine_subscription_april2011.jpgApril is National Poetry Month–what, you haven’t seen the
commercials on TV? One place you can’t miss the observation is in O, the
Oprah Magazine
‘s April issue. This is the magazine’s first-ever poetry issue and it is stuffed with all sorts of stories built around that theme…

  1. A fashion spread featuring eight poets modeling
    spring outfits. Enough with spokesmodels, we need more fashion poets.
    This is just one of the well-designed layouts in the magazine, with the
    words of the poets floating across the pages, spun around a dish to form
    a place setting or festooned into a head covering.

  2. Poet Mary Oliver
    interviewed by guest editor Maria Shriver. The best thing about this
    story may be the photo of the 75-year-old Oliver dressed in a fuchsia
    quilted jacket, cuffed jeans and patterned socks sitting cross-legged on
    a sofa.

  3. Favorite poems from famous people or
    famous people talking about what poetry means to them. The four-page
    spread includes quite a few musicians and actors, along with a couple of
    journalists and writers.

  4. Lots of former poets laureate, some sharing their thoughts on where poems come from, and an interview with the current one: W.S. Merwin.
  5. A selection of poetry books–20 in fact–in a “poetry primer.”

  6. Subscription copies of O magazine come with a set of poetry magnets attached to a lingerie ad.
  7. One more thing, this month’s masthead has a touch of whimsy–some of the staffers share their favorite poets.

there is much, much more. Even if you’re just not that into poetry, you
may find yourself drawn to the beauty of these pages. With flowers and
petals strewn throughout, sidebars and poems in colorful type, and
natural elements–branches, wet rocks, plant matter–used as design
elements, these pages are not just about poetry; they are also about


An Eames Scavenger Hunt in Dwell Magazine’s April Issue

dwell_magazine_subscription_april2011.jpgI just read the April issue of my Dwell magazine subscription cover to cover over lunch and one thing
that struck me was the number of references to American designers Charles and Ray Eames.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as big a fan as anyone–and I’ve got the very
cool black T-shirt from the 1999 Library of Congress/Vitra Design Museum
exhibition to prove it. Also a 1940s leg splint. I used the Eames
postage stamps for my 2008 Christmas cards. Not that I’m obsessed or

I know, we’ll consider this a scavenger hunt–an Eames hunt–through the really cool spaces featured in this issue of Dwell.

Ready? I’ll give you the first one: a little story about expanded opportunities for touring the Eames house (including spending the night, if you want to break the bank) in Pacific Palisades, Calif. You’ll find it on one of the letters pages of this month’s issue.

That’s just one of the Eames references. Here are clues to others found either in the text or glimpsed in photos:

  1. Ad them up.
  2. Toys for tots.
  3. Front and back.
  4. In the mix.
  5. Seating chart.

There you have it. Maybe there are more. Let me know if you find another reference.


Four Magazines, Plenty of Ideas for Easter (or Spring)

martha_stewart_living_subscription_april2011.jpgLooking for ideas for celebrating and decorating this Easter? You’ll find plenty in April magazines, including the four profiled below. Many of the decorations–and even menus–also double as ways to bring spring into your home.

  • Extreme Easter: Martha Stewart Living magazine excels at holiday theme issues. In April, the magazine offers a basket full of projects, including decorating eggs using embossing powder (as demonstrated on the beautiful cover) and making your own marshmallow treats à la Peeps. There’s a feature story on planning, decorating and hosting an Easter brunch and egg hunt to keep adults and kids entertained, and a mini profile of an artist who specializes in Ukranian pysanky designs. The monthly collectibles column focuses on all sorts of rabbits–stuffed, ceramic, cookie cutters and figurines. And there is so much more.

  • Subtle Easter: In contrast to the all-Easter, all-issue approach above, Real Simple magazine takes a very different approach with only two mentions: some Peeps stats on the monthly “Simple List” and uses for eggshells in the “Solutions” column.
  • Just Enough Easter: Better Homes and Gardens magazine joins Martha Stewart Living in championing self-adhesive scrapbook decals for quick and easy egg decorating, but first you may want to color the eggs using the homemade dye recipes. Among the updated ideas for filling Easter baskets is one that calls for using growing grass.
  • A Hint of Easter: One of the coolest egg ideas this spring comes from Good Housekeeping magazine with its instructions for making striped or monogrammed eggs. Clever, stylish and cool. There’s also an Easter menu.

Five Clothing Coupons to Clip From Your Spring Magazine Subscriptions

real_simple_subscription_april2011.jpgThis year’s spring lifestyle magazines have been full of tips on refreshing your wardrobe with stripes, florals, bright colors and whites. The magazines have also included wardrobe-boosting coupons.

While most of us will never be the kind of coupon clippers who show up on “Extreme Couponing”–and, really, who needs enough bottles of mustard to open a chain of delis–saving money is always stylish. To that end, here are five fashion-oriented coupons to look for in recent editions of your favorite magazines.

  1. Catherines Plus Sizes: Look for a coupon offering graduated savings is in the April issue of O, the Oprah Magazine.

  2. The Container Store: OK, sure, this store doesn’t actually sell clothing, but they sell plenty of things for organizing clothing and accessories. Save 15 percent with the bright pink coupon in Real Simple magazine‘s April issue.
  3. Coldwater Creek: Get $25 off with the pale blue coupon in April’s Better Homes and Gardens magazine and Good Housekeeping magazine. If you miss the April 30th expiration date, don’t worry, you’ll get a fresh 30+ days with the coupon in the May issue of O.
  4. Land’s End: Speaking of that upcoming O, there’s a $10-off (plus free shipping) coupon in the May magazine.
  5. Merona: There’s also $5-off coupon for Target’s store label in May’s O magazine.

Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for coupons for Chico’s and J. Jill, two retailers that also periodically run coupon ads in magazines. Happy shopping.