From the Editors:


Happy Halloween, and happy October issue!

Wow, this month was a whirlwind.

For me (Maria), it was defined by travel: I took a trip to Spain with my older sister (which I posted about on Cropped’s Instagram!), headed to New Hampshire for a 5k race I run in annually and attended a work conference in Las Vegas.

Typically I live for travel — there are few things I look forward to more than a trip. But this month I got my fill and am ready to have my feet on the ground for a while.

It feels like travel is in the air, though — no pun intended. So many great Cropped stories have related to travel or living abroad (we have another great one this issue from Yulia Chan), and it’s not hard to understand why.

I once heard a quote about travel that has really stuck with me, from a book called “A Hat Full of Sky.” In it, the author, Terry Pratchett, writes, “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

So here are a few lessons I learned during my travels this month.

From Spain: Travel is so much about who you’re having the experience with. Some of the best moments of our trip were just goofing around during a bike tour of Barcelona, or watching “Saturday Night Live” clips at our hotel in Sevilla. You can’t always plan the best moments of a trip, but you can plan to go with the best company.

From New Hampshire: Kanye West’s “Saint Pablo” is amazing. My friend Sean, who I run the race with, is my ultimate DJ. He made the six-hour drive so much fun. And so many Kanye songs are Cropped appropriate! “Real Friends” spoke to me.

And from Las Vegas: I typically avoid talking to strangers — despite, or maybe because of, being a journalist who talks to strangers every day, but in a more structured conversation! But on my flights to and from Las Vegas for my conference, I relaxed a little bit and spoke to my fellow travelers. They gave me some great travel recommendations and even some professional advice. One guy sitting next to me gave me some ideas for Cropped! You just never know.

Wherever you are in the world, we hope you enjoy this issue of Cropped. And check out what else has been inspiring us this month!

Maria (and Marina)



I cannot get enough of “In the Company of Women” by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge. Anybody else reading this one? It’s a book of “Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs,” and the diversity of women — in age, race, background, sexual orientation — highlighted in it is amazing. Every time I open the book I find yet another nugget of wisdom to hold on to. This is one I read today, from artist and designer Sarah Neuburger, that I love and seems right up Cropped’s alley: “The world looks so different when we remember we are an energy, not an image.”

Fred Armisen is just the greatest, and I really enjoyed hearing him on the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast earlier this month. He seems like such a genuine dude, and it’s fun to listen to a fellow music nerd discuss their favorites. In the interview, Fred is asked about missing the thrill of performing live on SNL, and he says, “In my life, I try not to miss anything because that’s like going back. It doesn’t really help me. … Missing it would mean I’m not enjoying the intensity of my life now.” I can’t stop thinking about that idea. There is so much I miss in my life right now — places, people, moments. But I’d like to start channeling Fred, appreciating my past and reveling in my present.


Speaking of personal growth and travel, I finally read the novel “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, after several of my friends recommended it to me. I absolutely loved it, and not just because it’s about a woman who strikes out on her own and starts a blog. The book has been described as “self-aware,” and I agree — it’s funny and sharp, while remaining sentimental. Adichie even includes some direct criticism of the way some people use social media. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Taffy Brodesser-Akner is one of my favorite profile writers, and this month she wrote a profile of Kesha for the New York Times Magazine that I’m still thinking about. I don’t want to give too much of it away, but it’s worth your time. We have just no idea what celebrities’ lives are actually like.