Posts Categorized: Print Magazine

Summer 2021 Inspire(d)!

Summer 2021 Inspire(d) Cover

The Summer 2021 Inspire(d) is all about finding ways to make do with what you’ve got on hand – in your fridge and for your summer. Inside, you’ll find fun activities, inspiring people and organizations, and tips for self-care and working with what you’ve got. 

Work With What You’ve Got! Community Hunger Solutions • Little Free Libraries • This American House • Blue Fruit Farm • Mental Health + Self-Care • Hammered Flower Postcards • Community Builders: Lara & Neil Martinsen-Burrell • Driftless Tiny Towns Day Tripper • Sum of Your Biz: Big Driftless & More!

Read the whole thing online here!

A note from Aryn:

After a year that felt stocked to the brim with lemons, it’s time for some lemonade, don’t you think?

Many have been “working with what we’ve got” – i.e. making lemonade out of lemons – for a while, perhaps forever if you’re particularly skilled at that character strength. Others might still be honing those talents.

But either way, we’ve definitely all had some practice. We’ve become better at recognizing our ever-shifting comfort levels in this ever-shifting world, and have found new tools to better Work With What We’ve Got.

So we here at Inspire(d) say it’s time to squeeze the best out this summer! Let’s make some dang lemonade, friends!

This issue is filled with inspiration for just that: Stories of innovative folks who know how to make the most of, well, whatever.

In Sara Walter’s piece about Community Hunger Solutions (pg 16) in Viroqua, Wisconsin, find out how this organization takes seconds and surplus food and produce from farmers, factories, and more – food that would normally be heading for the bin – and gets it on local tables that need it.

Meet Jason Loper and Michael Schrieber – and their house, the Meier House in Monona, Iowa – in my story about their path from Chicago to the Driftless, and their new book about the history of their house, the only Frank Lloyd Wright American System-Built Home in Iowa (pg 22).

Read about the ever-enterprising farmers at Blue Fruit Farm (pg 48) in Winona, Minnesota, using MPR and lasers to keep pests away, plus how they helped to establish organics and a farmers market in their region in a story from new Inspire(d) contributor, Renee Brincks.

For our summer Sum of Your Business, Benji Nichols chats with Cody Whittle of Big Driftless about the ups and downs of running his hand-crafted (and amazing!) gear, pack, and apparel company (pg 54), and Kristine Jepsen features the Martinsen-Burrells – or the MB’s as they’re know around Decorah – in a Community Builder piece that highlights the family’s work with the local OWL program (pg 44).

As for your summer: are you planning some, ahem, smaller travel plans? Erin Dorbin takes readers on a Southeast Minnesota Tiny Town Day Tripper Adventure that’s full of fun, winding you through tiny towns and Driftless backroads (pg 60).

As you travel, keep an eye out for little house-like structures, filled with books and installed around towns across the U.S. These are Little Free Libraries, and they were founded in Hudson, Wisconsin. There are quite a few around the Driftless, and we learn about the history, and some of Decorah’s LFL, in Sara Friedl-Putnam’s story (pg 28).

Finally, make sure you take a stop mid-way through this magazine for the summer Mental Health piece by local mental health counselor Olivia Lynn Schnur. She walks us through tips that will help us Work With What We’ve Got – starting with self care (pg 37) – with an infographic introduction by me (pg 33).

Plus, there are a ton of fun summer things to add to your to-do list: live outdoor music (pg 14), flower pounding postcards (pg 43), and lots of super cool things around the region (pg 9). We hope you make the most of this fleeting season – it’s your summer, after all…and you’ve gotta work with that!

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Holiday + Winter Inspire(d) – Read it Online Here!

Holiday + Winter Inspire(d)

The Holiday + Winter Inspire(d) is about Looking for the Bright Spots in every day – even through the darkest days of winter. Inside, you’ll find tons of inspiration to make the most of this time of year – and lives:

Focus on Mental Health • GrandPad • Make the Most of Winter • Pete Espinosa • Adrian Lipscombe • Cross Stitch Gnome Card • Q&A with Dr. Michael Osterholm • Ferndale Market • Moxi + Riedell Skates • End-of-Life Doula • Probit – Ruth Woldum • More!

Read the whole thing online here!

A note from Aryn:

You know those winter days when you head out for a walk and the sun is shining…and you tilt your face up to meet it and it feels like everything is going to be alright?

This is feeling we’d like to encourage you to find in your day-to-day lives – even when the sun isn’t shining (and everything doesn’t feel alright). We want you to Look for the Bright Spots everywhere.

2020 has been a year where we’ve had to frequently reinvent ourselves.

How we communicate: We found platforms like Zoom to stay social, something that is more important than ever, according to nationally renowned epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm. I got to chat on the phone with him for 15 minutes to talk COVID-19, Zoom, and how his path took him from Waukon, Iowa, to his current role at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. See the interview on page 29. For our relatives who have a little more trouble with tech, or needed a little more help on a regular basis, we turned to devices like GrandPad, based out of Wabasha, Minnesota. Decorah native Scott Lien and his son created a tablet purposefully sans complicated features – but with large, easy-to-use buttons and instant access to online help (pg 14).

How we think: We have had to dig deep to find positivity this year. And we’ll have to keep digging. Learn some strategies from regional mental health counselors like Olivia Lynn Schnur, who joins us as a new contributor this issue, plus tips on staying positive from yours truly, too. I’ve spent more than 13 years running Inspire(d), and it’s offered a great foundation for keeping on the sunny side of life. I’d love to help you do the same (pg 33).

How we find joy: Contributor Erin Dorbin found it in a pair of super colorful and totally awesome roller skates – Moxi’s Lollys. Then she discovered they were made right here in the Driftless Region at Riedell Skates Co. in Red Wing, Minnesota. It led her down a path of a pretty darn cool collaboration, and the story of how roller skating popularity has surged across the nation during this pandemic.

How we live: We carry on, Building Community, like Pete Espinosa and Adrian Lipscombe. And how we die: Kristine Jepsen takes on this important topic about choice and comfort, end-of-life doulas, and how we need to be having these conversations.

Through it all, we find the Bright Spots. Making the most out of winter and holidays, cozy reading, cross stitching, kits in the mail, cooking a big fancy meal just because, and small town charm.

Speaking of, every issue, we hope to get suggestions for probituaries. This issue, we got a few from a Decorah resident, and we reached out to one: Ruth Woldum. She agreed to be featured, and not long later, we got an email from her granddaughter…Britney Bakken! The same woman who interviewed her grandfather in the Summer/Fall issue! We had no idea that Ruth was her grandmother (on the other side of the family), and we all laughed at how perfectly “small town” this coincidence was!

Finding creative ways to overcome the challenges of the year has definitely highlighted bright spots for me. That said, I am looking forward to next year with…what else?…hope and optimism! As we come to a close with 2020 and take tentative steps into 2021, let’s keep looking for the Bright Spots.

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Read the Winter 2019-2020 Inspire(d) Online!

Winter 2019-2020 Inspire(d)

The Winter 2019-2020 Inspire(d) is all about winter fun and big ideas in the coming year! Inside, you’ll find:

Q&A with 5 Driftless Bakers: Sassy Baker • Fayette Sweets • Meringue Bakery • Newburg Vintage • Jo’s Coffee House – Jonah’s Hands, Paper Fortune Cookies, Big Ideas in 2020! Arthur Geisert, Organizing with Michelle Whitehill, Stay Active This Winter: Curling • Broomball • Sledding – & More!

A note from Aryn:

2020! What!

It’s the future, you guys!

It seems almost impossible that we’re approaching this new decade – and that we’ve been publishing this “experiment in positive news” for 12 years! But it’s not impossible…and, in fact, it never was. That’s always been one of our biggest goals: to remind you that big dreams start with that first step, a lot of hard work, and the willingness to jump in! Are you ready?! Let’s Make 2020 the Year of Big Ideas!

Of course, I just had to put a “Big Ideas” infographic together to give you some inspiration! Check it out on page 34.

We also want to share our infinite gratitude to all of our readers, and especially our advertisers, as we see our 60th issue of Inspire(d) roll out into the world. Woohoo! Time just keeps on slipping…so we’ve got to embrace every day.

This winter season, we hope that means embracing the fun, the cozy, and the notion that there is no bad weather as long as you’re wearing the right clothes.

One of our favorite things to do on a cold winter day is bake. In fact, we’ve got some of my chocolate chip cookies in the oven right now (see the recipe on page 26)! We loved reading Maggie Sonnek’s interviews with five Driftless Region bakers – Karin Sassaman from Sassy Baker, Kristy Donovan from Fayette Sweets, Jen Barney from Meringue Bakery, Irene Fishburn from Newburg Vintage, and Mikki Boyd from Jo’s Coffee House (pg 16) – and learning how things work in their kitchens.

Stay with the warm fuzzies while you read about Jonah Larson, an 11-year-old crochet prodigy from La Crosse, Wisconsin (pg 28). He has hooked the hearts of folks across the world with his beautiful crochet projects and kind heart.

Then get motivated for some winter adventures – you could head to the Dubuque Museum of Art to check out Elkader, Iowa-based children’s book author and illustrator Arthur Geisert’s work, on display through January 5, 2020. It’s a fun drive, and be sure to read all about Geisert beforehand in Kristine Jepsen’s story on page 38.

Or perhaps you’d like to add “try the sport of curling or broomball” to your adventure list! After reading about these sports on page 56, I really want to try both! At the very least, I’ll go sledding. It’s my favorite! Check out our tips for hosting a Sledding Party on page 64.

As we launch into this year of Big Ideas, a great first step is getting organized – read this issue’s Sum of Your Business, featuring Michelle Whitehill of Personally Organized, to get the de-cluttering ball rolling at your house.

Thank you so much, dear readers, for your support of Inspire(d). We couldn’t make this magazine without you! We wish you the happiest of holidays and the best New Year possible. You inspire us.

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Click here to read the Winter 2019-2020 Inspire(d) online!