6 Favorite Indie Lifestyle Magazines

By Assistant Editor Erica


When I get some alone downtime, I usually reach for a book. Something about reading is so relaxing for me. However, when I don’t feel like committing myself to a book or my downtime is fairly short, I go for one of my favorite indie magazines. I call them indie because by-and-large you aren’t able to find these in the grocery store, and best of all, they have little to no ads. A few months ago, we asked for your recommendations, and we’ve had a blast hunting for new favorites. We read so many fascinating articles and learned a trick or two on how to get affordable shipping!

Here’s a roundup of my top picks…


1. The one that you must read – Lunch Lady, a magazine about food and family, can easily be summed up in one word – delightful. The articles are engaging and varying, the recipes look delicious and feasible, and the graphics are colorful and fun. My favorite parts are the random tidbits like drawing faces on bread bag clips, what you can make with a cardboard box, and what “skipping stones” is called around the world. If you live in Australia, Lunch Lady ships via its website for a low fee. If you live in the States like I do, Anthropologie sells it online for a more affordable shipping option.

2. The one that hits you in all the feels – I randomly picked up Haven one day, and once I opened its pages, I inhaled it. This one is my favorite literary-wise, full of moving essays and poems centered around Haven’s theme of “taking the journey and finding home.” Maybe it’s because I’m such a sap, but I totally cried while reading this magazine. In addition to the thoughtful words in Haven, the beautiful photography means you can unabashedly leave it out on your coffee table. You can buy it via Haven’s website or Anthropologie.


3. The one to flip through at the beach – I always want to like fashion magazines, but I’m usually turned off by the copious ads and so-so articles. Lula, thankfully, fills that void of meaningful fashion magazines and fills it perfectly. Full of beautiful fashion shoots that aren’t ads, Lula inspires readers through the interesting articles, interviews, and styles presented. From here on out, my go-to beach read will always be Lula, which I purchased through Magazine Cafe.

4. The one for the all-around woman – I was initially put off by its tagline, “the art of being a woman,” but then I read Darling magazine and fell in love. Darling gives tips, advice, and inspiration on a vast range of topics, and all of them were incredibly uplifting. Some of my favorite articles were how to be more assertive at work, how to diffuse arguments during a dinner party, and how to navigate mother-daughter relationships. Best of all, Darling uses zero retouching on its models. You can purchase Darling via its website or via Anthropologie.

5. The one for the all-around woman, British edition – While very different in layout and content from Darling, The Gentlewoman is a British magazine that also covers various aspects of womanhood. Features discuss best-selling novels, introducing yourself in various cultures, and the perfect t-shirt. You can buy this one from Magazine Cafe.


6. The one that started it all – I don’t know if Kinfolk (above) actually was the original indie magazine, but it was the first one I knew about. Like Haven, Kinfolk has a central theme for each issue that it explores via articles, recipes, and more. The photography is beautiful, and the writing is engaging. Basically, you can’t go wrong with Kinfolk. Buy it online or at variety of stockists including (you guessed it!) Anthropologie.


Some honorable mentions for me are Lucky Peach, Cherry BombeThe Coastal Table, Apartamento, and Fellow. What about you – what magazines do you like to read?

Photos by Liz Stanley. Assisted by Stephanie Gardner


I agree with suggestions for Modern Farmer and Cherry Bombe. Taproot, a quarterly magazine out of Vermont, is also high quality and beautiful to look at. All three have terrific writers covering compelling stories specific to an industry, made palatable to lay readers in the most attractive way possible. In the case of Taproot, it has no ads and still manages to pay its writers. I commend any of these independent rags who compensates for content. I suspect some of them do not.

And I was disappointed that you included Darling, as the writing is robotic, without any personality and the presentation of the print and online versions are both borderline smug. There is a self-congratulatory air to their content, when in fact the entire magazine reads as if a single, very wooden writer created every article. It has zero personality. I recommend readers who want something both pretty and substantive save their money.

I’ve been really enjoying “Calm”. The magazine is geared towards doing art, as opposed to just looking at others doing art. The magazine supplies paper products to make, ideas for creative living and resources to find other like minded folks. The photography is beautiful and real. No runways, no models, less on materialism more on life! It’s colorful and accessible for this “non” artist

I believe this is the magazine called Project Calm for anyone interested. It sounds lovely.

I can’t wait to look some of these up, thanks! I love Modern Farmer, its all about sustainable farms, the food industry, and farmers and artisans, all wrapped up in a gorgeous thick paper book. My husband loves The Surfers Journal which is another bookshelf worthy publication full of thoughtful stories and pictures about surfing, which I somehow end up reading too.

Those both sound awesome as well. I don’t surf, but somehow reading about surfing if super relaxing to me (makes me imagine I live in Costa Rica!)

I love a good magazine. They are equally relaxing and inspiring. I usually lean more towards fashion magazines, but I’ll look into these options. Thanks for sharing!

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