From the Editors:


Hello Cropped readers,

We are SO happy to be back with a new issue.

I (Maria) am particularly thankful to offer Cropped to the world this time around. At a time when we’re grieving natural disasters and a lot of disagreement, it feels important to reflect on what makes us human — and, hopefully, create understanding that brings us all closer together.

Some of the essays in this issue provide a personal look into some of the most polarizing issues that have become points of debate lately. And some are about personal debates, the ones that happen inside our homes, within our families and within our own minds.

These debates can feel exhausting, challenging, draining. I personally struggle to feel joy when surrounded by sadness, either within myself or in others. And it makes me wonder sometimes what I should be learning from suffering.

Marina posted on our Instagram account this month a quote from author Neil Gaiman: “Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art.”

At first I wondered if that quote would resonate with those who don’t consider themselves artists. But I think we can all put it into practice. Maybe your art is a kind word offered to someone who needs it. Maybe your art is an Instagram caption. Maybe it’s telling a good story at a dinner party, or in a text to your mom.

Cropped is our art, and these stories are each so beautiful.

Stay strong, Cropped readers, even when things go wrong. And never hesitate to reach out to those who love you.

Maria (and Marina)  




I’m keeping my streak alive of recommending podcasts. Have you listened to “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations?” It has changed the way I think about the concept of spirituality, and how it differs from a concept I’m more familiar with, religion. I especially enjoyed the episodes with designer Nate Berkus, comedian Tracy Morgan and Catholic nun Sister Joan Chittister.

Do you remember Monica Moser, who wrote about art as both a burden and blessing in Issue 8? I was able to watch her play a concert of her original music (along with her sister Mallory, who happens to be one of my best friends), and I left thinking, “She just gets it.” Her music is a perfect soundtrack to this stage of life, and it made me want to do more personal writing. This time is confusing and beautiful, so let’s make good art. You can find her music on iTunes, NoiseTrade and Spotify, or on her website at


I have been a dancer since childhood, so I always geek out during “So You Think You Can Dance” TV season. Dance is such a moving art form (literally, figuratively) — and one that I think foolishly the general public often overlooks. These are two dances from the recently wrapped Season 14 (fitting) that have been a major #mood as of late: “Still I Rise” by Sean Cheesman and “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” by Luther Brown.

I love just about every Vogue “73 Questions” video (what an ingenious concept), and this new one with Tracee Ellis Ross is particularly great. From her energy to her outlook to her style, Tracee is magnificent. For example, who does she look up to most in life? “Trees! I think they are earthly and ethereal and full of history, and they have a ton to teach all of us.”