From the Editors:


Cropped is back! And Issue 7 was worth the wait — trust us. It’s one that you foodies, world travelers and aspiring expats will especially appreciate.

We’ve had a great summer break, full of weekend getaways, quality time with family and friends, and of course, some Cropped R&D. Thank you for sticking with us as we took a couple months to reflect and relax.

This week, while putting the finishing touches on Issue 7, we’ve been thinking about Frank Ocean — and not just because (like us) he likes to take his time with his art, creating on his terms.

Frank means a lot to us — his album “Channel Orange” was the soundtrack to the summer when we met, as interns in Atlanta in 2012. Hearing the first few notes of “Thinking Bout You” or “Super Rich Kids” or “Forrest Gump” immediately takes us back to Georgia highways, in Marina’s car with the windows rolled down and stereo turned up, on some weekend adventure.

Marina had been a Frank Ocean fan since his Odd Future/“Nostalgia, Ultra” days and that summer was eagerly awaiting the release of his new album. When she found out Frank would be playing a show in ATL, she rushed to buy a pair of tickets — she wasn’t sure who would go with her but figured she could find someone to join.

Of course, she asked Maria first. Maria’s love for Frank was still blossoming — “Channel Orange” had then only been out for about a week — and, for reasons of thrift, Maria decided to pass on the ticket. This remains one of her biggest life regrets. (Kidding… sort of.)

“Channel Orange” was on repeat the rest of the summer.

As many of you likely know, Frank’s latest album, “Blonde,” has been a long time coming, and we’ve certainly felt the weight of anticipation and dashed hopes after every speculated release date. But, finally, it’s here. And we’re LOVING it. The track “Facebook Story” is particularly relevant — an interlude in which a man describes telling an ex-girlfriend, "I'm in front of you, I don't need to accept you on Facebook."

So while you read Issue 7, consider turning on “Blonde.” You know that’s what we’re listening to. It feels good to have another Frank Ocean summer (it’s not over yet!) soundtrack to get lost in.

Marina and Maria



“The Circle,” by Dave Eggers: As our Instagram followers may have seen, I read the book “The Circle” this summer. It had been on my reading list for quite a while after my former coworker, Kirsten, recommended it when we were both discussing work culture in general and how we were navigating our first jobs post-grad. I highly recommend this book to anyone else who thinks about happiness and how to find fulfillment at work. It's fictional but provides an interesting critique of modern work culture, particularly in the tech world. I loved it, and I'm staying tuned for the movie version starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and John Boyega — whenever that comes out!

Don't Think Twice:” The comedian Mike Birbiglia wrote, directed and starred in this movie about an improv comedy group. My friend Sean and I saw it last week. (Side note: There's nothing like seeing a movie in the summer. Getting to sit in the cool air for two hours is worth the ticket price, in my opinion. During that Frank Ocean summer, Marina and I saw two great movies, “Your Sister's Sister” and “Moonrise Kingdom.”) My favorite thing about “Don't Think Twice” is something Cropped readers will likely appreciate. The movie takes us behind the scenes of what happens when a friend experiences success and the way that can sometimes change how we think about ourselves. It gave me a lot to think about, and I think the themes are relevant, no matter what your work or passion is.


Although we can find similarities among the experiences of 20-somethings growing up across continents and across generations, some of the differences are stark. This hit me as I read the story of a mother and daughter who both attended university in Kabul, Afghanistan — but decades apart. I'd never heard about the Kabul of the 1970s or considered how much more progressive it was than the Kabul of today. “This is not the country my mom told me about every morning as she made tea, every night as she tucked me into bed.”

I had my first tarot reading a few weeks ago, and I'm still raving about it. I certainly drink the metaphorical Kool-Aid when it comes to horoscopes, personality tests and the like, so it's surprising I hadn't gone to a psychic sooner. I asked about my career, about love, about travel, as my reader flipped over cards and offered tidbits about my future. It wasn't hokey or scary (before the reading, I couldn't help but worry, What if she tells me my days are numbered?!); it was actually pretty reassuring.