The January/February Issue

 Well, 2021 got off to a rocky start, did it not? With everything going on in US politics and the ongoing saga that is COVID-19, it can be challenging to find the optimism needed to face a new year with passion and verve. Taking a balanced approach - complete with lots of deep breaths - is really the only way to proceed. I was so heartened to read Elizabeth Graves' letter at the front of the January/February issue of Martha Stewart Living that espoused a similar mode d'emploi. "My only resolve this year is to embrace balance," she writes. "Working too hard? Ease up. Feeling a little doughy? Put on the sneaks. Really want that mouth-watering sweet? Simply enjoy it." I think we can all agree that firm resolutions have no chance of taking root in a cultural and global situation such as ours. Just make the most of each day.

So, the first issue of the year for Martha Stewart Living straddles the best of everything we need to get us through these opening scenes of 2021: the healthy, the inspiring, the delicious, and the indulgent. The simplicity and the love. It's all here. 

The Good Things section is filled with lots of DIY ideas for Valentine's Day, including these cute-as-pie 'pom-pom' cards. There's a recipe for the easiest chocolate truffles on earth and a fun Valentine's Day breakfast idea for kids: frozen strawberry-milk ice cubes in heart shapes. There's a movie-night popcorn and cocktail scenario that I'm definitely going to try, and a really cute craft project for kids: a cardboard animal house, complete with 'wallpaper' and furniture. 

The front of the magazine features all the wellness advice we could ask for, including a look at Martha's personal tips for leading a healthy life. There's an excellent article on how to get a good night's sleep, even during times of stress and uncertainty. And no January issue would be complete without a hands-on guide to cleaning and organizing: here it's all about the kitchen, which the editors rightly point out has been working overtime during the holidays. Time to give it a good bath - appliances and all! The article takes you through the finer points of achieving sparkling results. 

The well of the magazine opens with a gorgeous shot of Martha's farm in winter with a timely quote by poet Maya Angelou: "The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change." 
I am definitely going to be making this vegetarian bucatini bolognese this winter. It's part of a larger feature on vegetarian dinners the whole family can enjoy. 
While it's not entirely my style, I'm a bit obsessed with this bedroom in the magazine's decorating feature, profiling a beautiful home in upstate New York that positively glows in winter-white brightness. The home feels fresh, clean and airy and looks perfectly designed, with family and functionality in mind. 
Slab cakes may not sound terribly intriguing, but the recipes in this feature, I assure you, will have you reaching for the oven dial. I've bookmarked this one (orange and poppy seed) to try before spring. 
It's always nice to see a bit of green in a winter issue. The garden feature here has a wider aim, too. Black Sanctuary Gardens in northern California was a project started by landscape designer Leslie Bennett. Its aim is to provide a green space for Black women to retreat and connect with nature and their loved ones. 
The Valentine's Day feature is a great collection of crafts that use flowers (pressed, dried, sugared, and otherwise) to incorporate into your loved-one's day. The ideas are simple enough to inspire confidence but aspirational enough to inspire imagination. 
The closing page (Martha's "Remembering" moment) features one of my favourite photos of the magazine's founder. Taken by Todd Eberle on the coast of Maine on the first day of the new millennium, it depicts Martha in quiet reflection as she watches the first sunrise of the 2000s. I love it for its candid warmth. It was originally published in a special issue magazine called "Entertaining 2000", which was produced to celebrate the new millennium that year. 

Be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine at the newsstand, if you're not already subscribed. Or find it online. 


Favourite Good Thing: Animal House

Favourite Recipe: Vegetarian Bucatini Bolognese

Favourite Find: OldTimeCandy.com 

Favourite Feature: "Say It with Flowers" by Petra Guglielmetti, Ryan Liebe, and Naomi Demanana


Anonymous said...

I really miss the February valentine issues with the beautiful covers and lots of valentine's content.

Unknown said...

there were so many articles here I don't remember seeing. thanks for the trip down "new" memory lane!