From the Editors:


Welcome back, Cropped readers!

We took a recess during the winter holidays to celebrate with family and to do some high-level thinking about Cropped. Marina came to New York in January so we could work together in person, and we’re pumped up about what’s to come in 2017.

Already, we’ve been making moves to bring you (even) better issues in the future, along with a few new products we’re excited to tell you about soon.

For me (Maria), this time off from Cropped has been emotionally exhausting, mostly because of the political tension in the U.S. right now. It feels more important than ever to read and report the news, which has been professionally energizing. I’ve also been challenging myself to speak up more often in private conversation about these controversial topics. It’s not easy for me — sometimes I like to hide behind the “journalist” title so I don’t have to say what my opinions are, even to my own family and friends. So far in 2017, as so many readers undoubtedly are, I’ve been thinking deeply about professional responsibility and what effectively bridges our differences when we disagree on so much.

I think storytelling is a great start. For the stories I write for my full-time job, I’ve been striving to talk to more individual people: Not just the experts who explain what is going on, but to the consumers and citizens affected. Sometimes in a quick news cycle it can be difficult to make that happen, but I’m trying, and that’s one of my ways of making a difference right now.

Cropped is such an awesome community, and I’m thrilled we’re back, sticking to that storytelling mission, which feels newly relevant in 2017.

This issue features more beautiful stories of love and understanding, in the U.S. and abroad.

Look out for Abdullah’s story about becoming the first Muslim Arab-American to represent Michigan’s 15th District — home to the largest concentration of Arab-Americans in the U.S. — as its state representative.

Maria (and Marina)



I was reminded this winter of how much I love seeing a movie in theaters. It had been a while! I’m slowly making my way through as many Oscar-nominated films as I can (next on my list is “Moonlight”), and I highly recommend “Manchester By the Sea” and “Fences” if you haven’t seen them yet. I got lost in both, finding myself absorbed by the stories of individuals in sometimes tragic circumstances, exploring the limits of “family.”

I had mixed feelings when I found out this week that Sam Zabell, the host of the great podcast “Adulthood Made Easy” will be changing jobs within Time Inc. and no longer continuing the podcast. Sam was one of the first people who believed in Cropped, and I know her having us on the podcast brought in so many readers who never would have found out about us otherwise. Thank you, Sam! Fortunately for us, we can still listen to previous episodes of the show online and on our podcast apps. Give them a listen.


I just love the girls of "Girls." February 12 marks the first episode of the very last season of this HBO show, and I am having a lot of feelings about it. Earlier this week, New York Times Magazine reporter Jenna Wortham (another one of my lady crushes) hosted a live TimesTalks discussion with cast members Lena Dunham, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet and Allison Williams. Their thoughtful and open and humorous conversation about what the show has achieved and how its contributors have grown was a treat.

I recently stumbled on the Instagram profile of Alaina Sullivan, a designer at Bon Appetit magazine and a prolific home cook who often posts her #kitchensketches to her feed. Seeing another home cook in action is always inspiring, and as someone who also subscribes to the idea that food is medicine, I really appreciate Alaina's use of veggies, seeds, spices, oats, raw honey and more. When I had a cold a few weeks ago, I made this stewed pear, and it was quite magical — a form of self care that felt rightly indulgent and soothing. This is care I recommend for us all in the months ahead.