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September 7, 2010

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.



About the Author

Michelle Ryan
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!