giveaway: zinio digital magazines

True confession: I'm a magazine hoarder. I used to keep every issue of every magazine I got in a box in my closet - and I got Entertainment Weekly for several years, so it was a LOT of magazines! When I moved out, I had to throw them all away. It was hard...I remained convinced that someday I would really need to find one of those articles again and what was I supposed to do now that I'd thrown the magazine out???

Of course, I never did go back to an article in all the years I kept those magazines in my closet, because (surprise) it's really hard to find a specific article in a slipper pile of paper (mostly bent too...I wasn't very nice to my magazine stash)! Luckily, we live in a beautiful modern age where all the content you could ever want is at your fingertips!

Zinio is the world's largest newsstand, providing digital issues of pretty much any magazine you can imagine. Seriously - I spent a while flipping through their categories and I saw pretty much every magazine I've heard of plus a ridiculous number than I never had! Everything from Smithsonian to Rolling Stone to Cosmopolitan to Taste of Home to Cigar Aficionado which I'd never heard of but apparently has Jeremy Irons on the cover this month (YUM).

And all these thousands of digital magazines? You can read them on your laptop, your iPad/iPhone, or your Android-powered device! I love the idea of flipping through Dwell on my tablet - we're all addicted to home/lifestyle blogs (or is that just me?) but I'll admit that I do miss real magazines. It always feels like a treat to sit down with one at the salon, and now I can have them with me without any of the guilt of recycling!

But what's really awesome about Zinio is that they're giving 9 readers a FREE subscription to the magazine of their choice! That's right - nine of you will get to choose from the thousands of titles Zinio offers to read on your computer/phone/tablet/wherever!

To enter:

1. Follow this blog (duh!)
2. Comment here and tell me which magazine you'd like to get for free! (This doesn't have to be your final choice, no pressure!)
3. Make sure you leave your e-mail so I can get in contact with you.

The giveaway will be open for a week; I'll accept entries through midnight CST on Saturday (3/30). Winners will be randomly selected.


Note: In order to receive your subscription, you'll need to provide me with your first and last name to pass on to Zinio. This will all be conducted privately through e-mail, and I'd never use the information to Facebook stalk you or anything weird like that!

I'm sure all this magazine talk has you raring to go, and winning a single subscription won't be enough to quench your thirst for content. Lucky for you, you magazine fiend, Zinio is running some awesome deals right now - but you have to move quick! Through the end of the month (3/31), get $5 back for every 10 you spend on a new subscription (don't you love when that happens?) and five of their titles are available for just $5. Personally, I'm eyeing up Midwest Living (that's where I live!) and Eating Well. They're also having a 2-for-1 deal on select titles: get a 2 year subscription for the price of one. If I already got Eating Well, maybe I could try Boating - I could get into boats! This deal is good through 4/2.

Basically, now I'm facing having a hard-drive filled up with magazines instead of a box in my closet...but these will be searchable and significantly more portable!

Disclaimer: This giveaway was sponsored by Zinio. I was compensated for this post with a subscription for myself.

how to: start a book club

When you reach a certain post-college age, it can be difficult to find people to befriend. No longer are you milling around a confined space with all people about your age. No more classes to introduce you to a new crop of people who share your interests every semester, no floating down the dorm hallways looking for open doors, no happening upon a drum circle out on the quad (or was that just my school?). Nope, you have to actually make an effort to find people you want to spend time with. There are lots of meet-ups and activities you can pursue to meet people who share your interests, like dance lessons and knitting circles and cooking classes, but my choice was one that any English major might make:  a book club!

A book club is easy, fun, and (best of all) can be entirely free if you want it to be! Here's what you need to do:

1. Find some friends! Book clubs work best with a mix of people, so encourage your friends to invite their friends along, and everybody will meet someone new!

2. Pick a book Your book club might have a theme or genre, like sci-fi or travel books or books by authors whose names start with "G." Or maybe you'll just read whatever sounds fun!

3. Pick a place and time to meet Rotating between members' apartments is always fun, as is meeting in a coffee shop. We've found that meeting at a book store with a cafe is optimal, because you can get your snacks and beverages and then investigate the shelves to find your next pick!

4. Read!

That's all there is to it! I've borrowed all the books our book club has read from either the library or a friend, so it's only cost me the occasional frappucino (mmm frappucino). We've read a wide variety of books: everything from young adult to nonfiction to modern literary novels. It's a lot of fun to try a new book every month (which seems to be the optimal schedule for our group...enough time for everyone to find and read the book without people feeling rushed or overwhelmed), particularly when it's one you might not have picked yourself.

For bonus points, set up rules. In our club, if you miss a meeting or don't finish a book, your "punishment" is getting skipped when it's your turn to pick a book. It's not much of a punishment since our club has settled into a core group of four, so you're never too far away from your next pick, but it's a nice incentive to make time for reading. In your group, the punishment might be buying the rest of the club cookies.

Our club is a pretty casual read + talk set-up, but it would be a lot of fun to expand the concept: you might have a book & food club where the host prepares a treat inspired by the book or a book & movie club where you watch the film adaptation after you read and discuss the book. The possibilities are endless - the point is hanging out with new friends, thinking and talking about books, and enjoying some new stories!

This month's book is The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, which I just finished last night (it's on the top of the stack in the photo above). We'll be meeting up to talk about it in two weeks, and I can't wait to hear what everyone thinks!


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