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by Mira Kolodkin

Madison: A lovely city with a perfect combination of urbanity and nature, wine and beer, brats and vegan soup.  The only place I’ve ever been where you can tell after 20 minutes that this is a blue smidgeon on a very red state map.  Liberal idealism stemming from angry memories of lives spent in more conservative outskirts.  People who want to get away, but not so far away that cheese curds are no longer readily available.  Welcome to Madison!!! Let us get started on your tour.

Photo by Boulevard Bikes

In the summer, people bike.  In the winter, it’s very cold, but people bike anyway.  If you’re not in Portland, the next best place to bike is Madison, Wisconsin.  Every place that I mention on this tour is located within a block of either easily traversable bike paths, or well-defined bike paths on major streets.  The drivers hate you, but you don’t care, because you’re on a bike and hitting you would be very expensive for them. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview by Lydia Krupinski    Photos from Mary Ellen


When people purchase a product its life span is often far from their minds. Videos like The Story of Stuff reveal the cradle to grave cycle to which consumables are doomed.

By re-using products not designed to survive their original intent, artisans like Mary Ellen are re-shaping how we utilize these abandoned items. Mary’s company, Mary Zoom, takes these unwanted materials and transforms them into functional and whimsical goods for the whole family. Read the rest of this entry »

Article by Lydia Krupinski
Photos by Lydia Krupinski & David Downs


When deciding where to go for Spring Break, the decision wasn’t easy. David and I thought long and hard about cost, location, our footprint, and what we truly wanted from a vacation. We wanted to get out of the city, but didn’t want to fly to either coast. We also wanted a change of scenery, an escape from the flatlands of the central midwest.

After doing some research we decided to rent a fuel efficient compact car and head south to one of the largest natural wonders in the world: Mammoth Cave National Park. This amazing preserve boasts hundreds of miles of wilderness, a rich history, eco-friendly lodging accomodations, and a dedication to environmental preservation and education.

With over 365 miles of cave to explore, horseback riding, canoing, and hiking, David and I couldn’t have asked for more.  The crisp clean air, combined with the spectacular view and abundant wildlife, made this the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Chicago.

In addition to the natural splendors, the facilities and accomadations in and around the preserve were all committed to lessening their negative environmental impacts. The on-site cafe boasted several vegetarian  items, biodegradable eating utensils, natural ingredients, and a friendly staff, while the gift shop included handmade crafts by local artisans. Lodging accomodations ranged from camp sites and ranch style hotels, to log cabins and tepees situated in the woods.

This, combined with the park’s dedication to preserving the integrity of the caves and its inhabitants, made the park a truly unique and rewarding vacation experience. Only six hours away from Chicago, Mammoth Cave National Park is the perfect destination for families, urbanites, and eco verts alike! Check out their website to learn about planning your visit.



Pierogi Picnic

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