This is our last Monday Menagerie of the year, so we decided to compile our “picks of the year” to share — the stories, work, creations, and women who inspired us the most in 2015!
1. Malala Yousafzai
Malala has truly become a heroine of mine this year. I listened to the audiobook “I Am Malala” and I have not been the same since. She is a saint in our lifetime and I want everyone to know who she is and how she is changing our world. Her story says so much about the human spirit and proves that ANYTHING is possible. I am sincerely grateful for this 18 year old and plan to continue to follow her and shout her name from the rooftops. Thank you, Malala.
Who doesn’t love Amy Poehler? She’s super pretty, funny, talented, seems super kind and then she went and created Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls and the world went and got a bit brighter. I didn’t know too much about the site until we started Project:Women and then it became a go-to resource for everything inspiring, enlightening and awesome. Thank you, Amy.
In January Julie Elizabeth Day was called to start the New Moon Prayer Tribe and on or around the eve of every New Moon, she leads a group of people in prayer, gratitude and sets intentions for the coming month. It has been an AMAZING experience to be a part of. You can listen to her latest and greatest in the link above. Join us if you feel called. We are creating a HIGH VIBE on this earth and I feel so blessed to be a part of it. Thank you, Julie.
4. JNUARY – “HOTEL”
This video was created and edited by the talented Alaina Latona who also happens to be the author of PERJUS magazine. She is super cool, and this track is pretty badass. 🙂 Thank you, Jeremy and Alaina.
5. ADVICE FOR NEW MOTHERS
I am sharing this because creating this video was one of my favorite experiences from this past year. Since I have moved closer to home I have been able to spend more time with some of my best friends and their incredible children and am in constant awe at these women. How do mothers do it all?? Thank you, friends with kids.
6. #HOPEFOROURDAUGHTERS CAMPAIGN
I know this was fairly recent but I LOVED taking part in this campaign and getting my incredible friends to take part in it as well. It lit me up being able to reach and to feel and see such a positive response coming from women that I love and admire. I truly believe that all the messages these women put out into the world are being seen and heard. Thank you, #HOPE
I have loved Jon Stewart for a long time but I love him way more now that I have learned how AWESOME his wife is. Tracey Stewart seems like an angel and not only to animals. I have also been a fan of Farm Sanctuary for years so the fact that they have joined forces makes me so happy and excited for the farm animals who deserve some champions! Thank you, Tracey.
I found this video and think that it encompasses so much of what my life has been about for the last year. All I want to read about and share are stories about women rocking the world and how we can make our sweet Mother Earth a little bit cleaner for future generations. This video ties it all together. What are your goals for 2016? How can you reduce your impact on the environment? I say we all take one small step. Thank you, Mother Earth and the women fighting for you.
Tara is going to start with LG and I will end with her. Elizabeth Gilbert lights up my life. I told Tara at one of our meetings that my greatest wish is for Project:Women to create an event that Malala and Elizabeth Gilbert attend and all my dreams would have come true. Thank you, Liz Gilbert. Thank you for you.
10. TARA TONA
I love you, Tara Tona. Thank you for creating Project:Women and asking me to be a part of it. I am in awe of you and appreciate you and look forward to all the awesomeness that is to come. Thank you, TT!
1. BIG MAGIC
The book that will stir your mind & spirit
Oh my word, I don’t know where to begin with this!! I did not expect it to impact me quite as much as it did. It’s just one of those books that had me highlighting and dog-earing page after page, and feeling like Liz Gilbert is a woman who has a tremendous gift for being rather magically persuasive.
It is not only beautifully written, but it’s funny, wise, insightful, and impossibly and undeniably inspiring. I’m telling you, you cannot read this book and not get motivated to wake up the next day and just CREATE!!
(Special thank you to my BFF Jackie for gifting me this book on my bday) 🙂
2. LENNY LETTER
The weekly newsletter created by two fabulous women.
Oh Lenny, oh Lena and Jenni… how I adore the things you create!
I became a fan of Lena Dunham when I first saw her film “Tiny Furniture” a few years ago. I found something about her way of portraying a story to be so comforting. That comforting vibe also infuses Lenny Letter, albeit with a glorious mixture of wit, intelligence, brazenness and just plain good writing. It’s got a little bit of a 90’s girl power thing going on too. What more can you ask for?
3. BAD GIRLS
I’ve written about this probably way too many times on this blog already, and I promise this is maybe the last time I talk about it. This year.
M.I.A. is my favorite female musical artist of the current generation, and this video– no matter how many times I watch it– never ceases to put chills on my arms and motivate my spirit to keep moving forward. I credit this song & video with lighting the fire in my soul to start Project:Women because of its unapologetic badassness.
Website & Newsletter
Brain Pickings is this absolutely lovely and brilliant website created and maintained by one very amazing woman, Maria Popova. It’s a digital creation that’s part historical education, part intellectual newsletter, part love journal to the beauty and complexity of the human world. It’s truly a work of art, and her newsletter is one of my favorite things in my inbox.
(The Soundcloud link above is how I found out about her, in her wonderful interview with Krista Tippet.)
Podcast to blow your mind
The new podcast of my year!! I have been a looooong-time fan and weekly listener to both This American Life and Radiolab, and when two of their female producers came together to create the podcast Invisibilia it was like the best kind of lighting bolt. Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel are golden, and I can’t wait for the next season to come out!
My friend Elizabeth Davis sent me a link to this earlier this year, and I found it to be one of the loveliest art collaborations I’d ever seen. It’s something so simple in concept, and yet so absolutely beautiful in its realization. The fact that it was an art project that came about naturally, without any forethought or planning, makes it even more wonderful.
(Thank you to ED for sharing this!)
Holy smokes. I’ve seen a whole bunch of TED talks throughout this year, every one of them incredible or fascinating in some way, but nothing as powerful as THIS. Lyiscott speaks like a mighty summer thunderstorm rolling across the silvery heavens above.
8. Miss Moss
This is an oldie but a goodie. I discovered Miss Moss years ago, and have been a long time follower. I wanted to add this to the list because I still haven’t found another website to rival it. It started off as a simple, personal blog where creator Diana Moss– a young woman with exquisite taste from South Africa– shared her pictorial finds each week. It’s now a full-blown website (still run by Moss) with all sorts of fun sections (art, photography, home decor, fashion, etc) and I have found SO MANY things I have fallen totally in love with there. It’s a treasure.
This was created by the Ad Council and performed earlier this year. It’s one of those things that I watched and immediately felt good inside. It felt genuine and real and beautiful. The right for equal marriage for all Americans came not long after this video was released. Pretty much wonderful.
Musician to Hear
Lauren Lege is a dear friend of mine, and also a new contributor to our blog. She is a working mother of 2 young (precious) kids and she has this somewhat hidden talent for singing so beautifully that my heart melts and my eyes become tiny oceans of salty tears. I believe she is one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever heard, and hope that her voice may enchant others as it has enchanted me.
*11. Jamie Bullock
Extra Special Person
I know, this was only supposed to be a list of TEN great things, but I had to add one more…
See, Jamie Bullock decided to jump on this crazy ship called Project:Women with me at the very beginning. I don’t even know how to express how much I am thankful for her partnership and friendship. All I can say is, thank you Jamie for being in this with me and believing in it as much as I do. Love you JB!
Thank you to all our friends who have shared great stories with us throughout the year, and to all the incredible women in the world who inspired the creation of the Monday Menagerie. We’ve had SO much fun putting these together each week and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading them!
See you next year!
Featured image (at top): Photograph & text by Tara Tona
All reviews written and opinions expressed are the author’s own.