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I used to be quite the magazine junkie, whiling away my free time with the likes of O, More, Cosmopolitan, Real Simple, Self, Shape, Vanity Fair, and even the occasional issue of Vogue. Lately, the only magazines I read regularly are Writer’s Digest, Saveur and Sunset—the latter two because my niece was selling magazine subscriptions for her Girl Scout troop. I still love magazines’ glossy, carefully composed images—windows into the perfect life (as conceived by advertisers). There’s something seductive about all these scenes: friends laughing, drinking and sharing nibbles in a lantern-lit garden; a mother and daughter peering from their tent as dawn paints the mountains pink and gold; a sassy woman strutting down a rain-glazed Parisian street…

Before I retired, I’d start my day with a cup of tea and a magazine—a bit of precious alone time before the busy workday began. Look! Here’s the key to spiritual enlightenment on page twenty-six. And here on page thirty-four is a heart-wrenching piece by a cancer survivor. Here are some lovely suggestions for the perfect Provençal-style garden, and here’s a travelogue, and here are twenty questions that will reveal my true calling. All this entertainment and wisdom, laid out in easily-digestible bits of no more than 1,000 words. What fun!

What I love about women’s magazines is their optimism, their constant reassurance that I’m just one make-over away from a shiny new me. And I do love to start my day with a little inspirational reading. Not being a religious person, I find inspiration in tales of self-improvement, of weathering storms and emerging stronger, of finally mucking out the closet and finding one’s ideal wardrobe.

Oh, but the ads. While they can be pretty, they do clutter up a magazine. I get it—magazines are financed by the advertisers. Much of the content of a magazine is designed to sell the sort of stuff the sponsors offer. And that’s where magazines have lost their shine, as far as I’m concerned. I get so tired of the constant sell, sell, sell—as if a pushy salesman keeps poking me on the shoulder and interrupting my enjoyment of the articles. Ugh.

Just for fun, I’ll sometimes tear out every magazine page that contains ads on both sides; this results in a much slimmer magazine. Have you noticed how many of these are ads for medications? And we’re not just talking about Tums or Advil, fine products that I would actually use. No, these are ads for serious medications for very serious conditions. Can you believe those long pages of tiny print listing the many side effects, and how often those side effects include suicidal thoughts?

But I digress.

How marvelous it would be to find a magazine containing no ads—a magazine full of the hopeful, optimistic, light content that I find so relaxing, without any promptings to buy, buy, buy. I know, I’m just fantasizing, here. But wouldn’t it be great to find an ad-free magazine filled with articles like these?

  • The Miraculous Health Benefits of Afternoon Naps
  • Gorgeous Goodwill: How to Restyle Used Clothing
  • Fun, Cheap Potluck Parties
  • You Look Marvelous! Twenty Ways to Appreciate Your Own Gorgeousness
  • Easy Homemade Holiday Gifts for under $5
  • Ten Quizzes that Reveal How Brilliant and Talented You Are
  • Interviews with Fascinating Women Who Don’t work in the Fashion, Beauty or Entertainment Industries
  • Mentor of the Month: Mature Women Who Shape Lives
  • Smart, Creative People Who Are Building a Better Future for Us All
  • The Joy of Volunteering: Neighborhood Heroes
  • Fun Crafts Made from Stuff You Already Have Lying around the House
  • How to Attain Inner Peace and Enlightenment in a Supine Position
  • Celebrate National Buy Nothing Day
  • Plump, Sexy Role Models
  • The Joy of Inter-Generational Friendships
  • How to Host a Fashion Swap Party—New Clothes for Free!
  • How to Take Photos That Are Not Selfies
  • Fifty Gourmet Recipes to Transform Your Leftovers.
  • You Won’t Believe What You Can Get for Free at Your Library!
  • How to Lose Weight and Get Fit by Dancing to Music on the Radio
  • Amazing Skin Cream You Can Make in Your Own Kitchen

Perhaps someday we’ll see an online blog collective/e-zine that isn’t cluttered with pushy, obnoxious pop-up ads. A woman can dream…

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