Monday Menagerie, recent
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Monday Menagerie #24

In this one:  Lenny, Super Schools, Women&Girls Lead, Emerson Collective, a lot of stories, a TED talk, some art, and some good music.



  1. Cool things
  2. Stories & People
  3. Art & Music


C O O L  +  T H I N G S



via Lenny

via Lenny

N e w s l e t t e r   t o   l o v e:  Lenny Letter 

Can’t believe I haven’t posted about this already!  I had been awaiting Lenny Letter– the weekly newsletter created by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner– since I signed up for it in July, before I received the first one in my inbox in September.  Now it’s a regular love of my life.  It wasn’t until my friend Lauren texted me last week, sharing a link to Lenny, that I realized I haven’t even been talking about it.  So if you haven’t signed up yet, go. Do.  You will be happy.

via Lena Dunham IG

via Lena Dunham IG

N e w  P o d c a s t :  “Women of the Hour” by Lena Dunham

As if a whole weekly newsletter loaded with female brilliance wasn’t great enough, now Lena and another friend are taking on the podcast-o-sphere.  As a thoroughly devout podcast junkie myself, I am pretty stoked about this.

“Please subscribe if you like bad-asses, deep questions, giggling, sexual healing, Gaia life force, style, summer-camp, cute kids, the Internet and feminine power,” Dunham said.

via XQ the super school project

via XQ the super school project

N e w  M o v e m e n t:  XQ: The Super School Project

If you have a child or work in the American school system, you may be interested in this.  I practically jumped out of my chair when I found this, I was that excited.  Someone, a lot of someones are actually doing something about our antiquated school system.

“Our mission at XQ: The Super School Project is to fuel a movement to reimagine high school.  In the last hundred years, America has gone from a Model T to a Tesla and from a switchboard to a smartphone, but our public high schools have stayed frozen in time.  We believe American ingenuity can and must move education forward.  We believe communities have the solutions.  This is a challenge, up to all, to build the Super Schools that will lead the way.”




C a u s e :  Women & Girls Lead

An organization which uses the power of storytelling and film to create social change for women.

“Our model is as striking as it is successful.  Each year, we bring ten global films to audiences in eight countries, sharing stories of hope and transformation.  We train partners to use our media for social change.  And it’s working.”



via emerson collective

via emerson collective

C a u s e :  Emerson Collective

Emerson Collective is a non-profit organization founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, who was also the wife of Steve Jobs.  When I first came upon this organization I wasn’t sure what it was, I just liked what they were talking about.  Their website is one of those that puzzle me, in that I couldn’t find any direct information on work they have completed, rather there are numerous stories and info about work they “focus on/believe in/champion”.  But their site is also full of useful, valuable information and articles, and it seems like a very active organization.

“This is our mission at Emerson Collective—to transform potential into progress by building durable pathways to opportunity in every community.  We focus our work on improving education, championing common sense immigration reform, and fostering innovative solutions to social issues.”



S T O R I E S  +  P E O P L E






M o t h e r  S t o r y :  When Love Feels Heavy

N’tima Preusser talks about her realities of early motherhood– going from knowing it all to diving into the deep end and learning to swim.  (It’s a lovely piece, but I have to say if you’re a new-mother-to-be, please know that this is not everyone’s experience!  Some newborns sleep for three whole hours at a time!) 😀

“But wait.
I am not ready.
This is so hard.
I am so tired.
Why hadn’t anyone prepared me for this?

I. Know. Nothing.”

Shared by Kristin Tona


mitchell trinka// via Motherload

mitchell trinka// via Motherload

M o t h e r  S t o r y :  Just an Ordinary Miscarriage

A candid recount of a painful experience.  Something about how straightforward Candy Schulman writes about her miscarriage is what made me love this story.

“It’s not an easy topic, or one that slips gracefully into casual conversation, but every time we name it, we add to the growing sense of awareness that not every pregnancy ends in a joyful birth, and increase our understanding of our own biology and limitations.”


via Lenny Letter

via Lenny Letter

L i f e  S t o r y :  The Watermelon Skirt

Jenna Lyons (creative director of J.Crew) writes about how difficult her childhood was due to a painful genetic condition, and how a handmade skirt changed her life.  I was surprised by how moving this story is (but then, sometimes I easily get weepy.  I also have a pretty big soft spot for sewing-related stories. lol.)

“…But seventh grade was an odd turning point. I took a home-economics class. Profound life changes can happen in home ec. Believe me, that statement sounds just as ridiculous to me as it does to you.

What happened was I learned to sew.”


doug mills/ nytimes

doug mills/ nytimes

L i f e  S t o r y :  How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Became “Notorious R.B.G.”

If you haven’t read the book yet and are interested in this absolutely fascinating woman, read this piece.  I’ve put Notorious R.B.G. at the top of my reading list!

“A Jewish woman and a mother, the professional world rejected her. Though considered by classmates as “the smartest person on the East Coast,” it took blackmail from a former law professor to advance her forward to become a Supreme Court law clerk. (Gerald Gunter, her constitutional law professor at Columbia, told Federal Judge Edmund L. Falmieri of the Southern District of New York that he would never send him another clerk again if he didn’t give Ginsburg a chance. Falmieri took the bait.)”


Abigail Gray Swartz// the Motherload

Abigail Gray Swartz// the Motherload

M o t h e r  S t o r y :  A Kindergarten Form Asks:  Vaginal Birth or C-Section.  Why?

This story intrigued me because I’m in the phase of motherhood when I’m faced with the preschool search, and everything that goes with it.  I find it mind-blowing that questions like this get asked at all.  Ay… don’t even get me started.

“If adverse birth events are the underlying concern, why not ask about them? Birth trauma can occur regardless of delivery type. And why not ask about other possible medical explanations for kindergarten challenges? Shouldn’t they, I asked, include the question about whether a child is vegan so a teacher can look for vitamin deficiencies? “We don’t like to ask questions about food,” she said. “Parents are very sensitive to that.” But questions about our vaginas are A-OK!”


via NPR // fresh air

via NPR // fresh air

 R a d i o  I n t e r v i e w : Tracey Stewart on Fresh Air

I put an article about Tracey Stewart in my last Monday Menagerie, and then a few days ago she popped up on Terry Gross’ s Fresh Air!  (One of my fave shows.)   I really enjoyed this interview, she talks about her cafe for parents, her new book, and her life after The Daily Show.

She also founded a magazine called Moomah Magazine— for parents.  It’s pretty cool.

 ☞☞☞☞ T E D  t a l k :  3 Ways to Speak English

OH MY GAAAAAH.  I don’t know what else to say.  I had chills all over my body the whole time watching this performance piece by Jamila Lyiscott.  Ended it in tears.  Just watch it.  Right now.



A R T  +  M U S I C




Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

“Lake Study 4” via

P a i n t :  Dani Shafer

I’ve been following Dani Shafer’s Instagram (DANISHAFER_) for a while, and there is just something about her deep, oceanic green and peacock blue brush strokes that gets me.  I’m usually not into this kind of simplistic abstract art, but the colors she uses just draw me right in.  (I also like her textile works, very cool.)

“Using materials, which are layered and intertwined, repetitive shapes and forms with soft, sensual qualities are created, relying heavily on the body’s movement.”



"Human Landscapes" via

“Human Landscapes” via

C o l l a g e, etc. :  Rocio Montoya

Montoya is a Spanish artist who does photography and graphic design, but it’s her collages that really captured the attention of my eyes.

“Throughout her career as an artist she [has made] a personal exploration of behaviors and emotional states of the human being, transforming reality by manipulating the image to convey their perception of the environment through aesthetic experiences.”



via Treehugger

via Treehugger

S c u l p t u r e :  Kevin van Braak

This particular sculptural installation by van Braak is a disturbing one, but it is meant to be.  The elephant is made of reclaimed teak wood, and carved to imitate the carcass of a poached pachyderm, in order to bring awareness to the plight of these beautiful creatures.

“It may seem paradoxical, but some environmental thinkers believe that it’s crucial for us to actually feel this collective anguish in order to transform it into something more empowering. This powerful “despair work” moves beyond the intellectual grasping of our planetary crisis and gets us right in the gut — and heart, where true transformation begins.”




M u s i c :  Perjus Mixtapes

I started listening to these “mixtapes”–digital playlists created by the Perjus creative minds– and I really, really dig them.  One of my fave tracks:  “Marijuana” by Chrome Sparks, on the September mixtape.



Featured image (at top) found on:  Perjus Inspiration Board

All reviews written and opinions expressed are the author’s own. “Shared by [name]” – Refers to the person who shared the link to the original piece featured here.


1 Comment

  1. I just signed up for the Lenny Letter last week! It was the first time I’d heard of it. A good friend forwarded me an email with the information in it. I read the “Watermelon Skirt” in the letter and I was hooked. So glad I found out about it!


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