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Magazine Milestones in My Life

southernliving_wed_edit2.JPGInitially, I had planned to write about magazine milestones of the 20th century for this article. But as I was sifting through the many important magazine events, I started thinking, “What about the magazine milestones in my own life?” When I sat down and really thought about it, there are quite a few magazine milestones that mirror both the big and small events of my life.

In my childhood years–the 1980s–my biggest magazine milestone was when my grandfather gave me a gift subscription to National Geographic. I remember the thrill of receiving each issue in the mail and loving that it wasn’t a kids’ magazine.

I started off the ’90s with a subscription to People magazine and I read it obsessively. Julia Roberts was my favorite actress and I remember keeping up with everything going on in her life–from her Steel Magnolias Oscar nom to the “big break up” of her and Kiefer Sutherland. I also distinctly remember turning to Seventeen magazine for guidance on prom dress shopping (and later being disappointed when I couldn’t find a particular dress in the department store).

By the late ’90s I was in college and pursuing a journalism degree. Time and Newsweek magazines became must-reads–for good grades, that is; in my Mass Communications 101 class we were regularly quizzed on the magazines’ headlines. And though I was initially forced to read these magazines, I became a longtime voluntary subscriber.

I started off the 2000′s a college graduate and magazines like Lucky; O, The Oprah Magazine; and Self were my constant reads. An ideal Saturday afternoon for me was to leisurely dive into my stack of magazines. At that time I was enjoying life as a young professional who’d just moved to the big city; I looked to magazines to help shape my identity, and in turn my magazine reading habit became less obsession, more way of life.

weddings_edit2.JPGIn 2008, I got engaged and with my identity intact, magazines became not just a source of advice, but a practical communication tool. I tore out a picture (which I’ve since lost) of a Martha Stewart Weddings cake to show my baker; from the picture I was able to tell her what I wanted very easily. I did the same with a Southern Living Weddings magazine and my florist. Additionally I turned to Consumer Reports magazine for guidance on what to put on my wedding registry, The Knot for bridesmaid dresses and Budget Travel for honeymoon ideas.

I have no doubt when the time comes to start my family (not just yet, everybody) that I will turn to magazines as a trusted resource for advice on everything from the best baby gear to potty-training.

Until then, magazines will continue to play a role in the small events in my life too, like what’s for dinner tonight and which fall fashion trend I’ll adopt.

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Michelle Ryan

About Michelle Ryan

Michelle Ryan is obsessed with good food, great shoes and Alabama football way down South in Savannah, Georgia. She hasn’t met a kitchen gadget she hasn’t at least thought about buying (trying them is another story) and devotes her time to Bikram Yoga, baking and trying to overcome long-held finicky eating habits.

  • Anonymous

    If not yet, when! Mom

  • http://twitter.com/sidebarreview Tyler Reed

    I never thought about it, but what you say is so true! One of the first places I wanted to go after I got engaged was Barnes & Noble to pick up wedding magazines. When I decided I liked literature, I looked for Oxford American. And for cooking, I sought out Martha Stewart. People gravitate toward their niche at the time and can almost track their lives through their subscriptions. Neat perspective!