Author: Tara Tona

Be Here Now*

    I’m sitting in a kitchen in a tiny old apartment in Sandanski, Bulgaria.  It’s about 1:32 pm here, sunny and warm outside.  My cousin-in-law is sitting on the bed next to me (beds in kitchens are occasionally a thing here, really cool), and we’re listening to retro 80’s music on my phone while working on our computers. I haven’t felt this relaxed in a long, long time.  We came here a week ago, just me and my two girls.  A special 6-week vacation to stay with my husband’s family (he is back at home, holding down the fort like a champion, making us all miss him awfully).  It is also a chance for me to disconnect from all the maddening stress that had been stalking me for many months at home.  The combination of being sick and having sick babies for weeks on end, since February, with barely a breather between each new illness, and my constant companion of allergies so fierce they make my brain feel like cooked squash, was wearing me …

You, My Love

“Here it’s just us. You sitting on the sofa, I nestled in close beside your warm, tired body. Together we sit. There is no need for conversation in these moments, only the need to get just a little bit closer, to snuggle in a tiny bit more…”

Interview with artist Fiona Avocado

“One of my former comics instructors recently said something eluding to being an artist and cartoonist is like being a vampire, it is always going to be a part of you. I have always been creative, any time I try to do anything else, writing, journalism, community organizing, teaching, my art always intersects with that work…

Creative Forces – Inspiration, Bravery, and Making Time to Make

Creativity (noun): “The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.”

Oh, it sounds so simple doesn’t it? The use of the imagination… there are no rules, no boundaries, no foundation, no precedent… So why is it, then, that many of us become so disengaged with creativity once we grow up?

Pursuing your Dreams and Taking Chances

  Blahhhhhh. 11 Jan. 2016 I had expected to write something full of thrill and excitement and joy for this month’s theme, but then I never end up writing about what I think I’ll write about. This morning I suffered a minor emotional breakdown. Overwhelmed.  To the max. Cried, hugged on my husband, and slowly started to feel better.  Life is freaking hard to deal with sometimes, no? To be honest, I should have expected it.  I had been so on my game the past few months.  Full of energy and positivity, multitasking like a bandito, staying up late and waking up early and getting. it. done.  But what I forgot is that at some point the great big Burnout will occur.  It’s inevitable.  In fact, it’s just simple math: Overwork + Lack of Sleep + Overstimulation in the form of Crazy-Whirlwind-Housecleaning/Reorganizing + Financial Stress = Emotional Meltdown waiting to happen. Add in a full dose of pregnancy hormones and whoooaaa buddy, look out.  (Funny side note on those hormones… throughout this pregnancy (5 months thus …

New Year’s Resolutions

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the days between Christmas and New Years a tiny bit more than any others. Even though Christmas Day is undoubtedly my absolute favorite day of the year (the family is gathered, baked-goods and gifts abound, a fragrant Spruce covered in twinkling lights and useless yet adorable baubles in the living room– what isn’t there to love?) Yet there is something almost magical about the handful of otherwise ordinary days post-25th.  The excitement and jubilation of Christmas has passed, and with it go the stress and pressures which inevitably build up in the weeks preceding it.  New Years is still on the horizon, plenty of time to make plans and clean up the general chaos that piles of gifts bring about.  These precious days are almost like an extension of the year in a way, like you’ve been given a little extra time before the ball drops on the new year to relax, revel, and then get your act together. Today I scoured our bathroom.  (Small house, …

Interview with Mala + Mantra founder, Judith Compton

Judith Compton’s passion and years of experience in the fashion industry led her to create a line of meaningful, beautiful, and inspiring jewelry items. Her brand, Mala and Mantra, is a fusion of classic meditation beads and modern style– all gorgeously and thoughtfully put together by a talented group of women working in a fair-trade collective. When Jamie Bullock brought this brand to my attention, I had to learn more about it! Here, Judith shares her story with us.

Interview with E.P. – Airforce Pilot, Working Woman

E.P.* is a lady who I’ve known since we were in elementary school together.  She possesses a truly radiant kindness and warmth, the type of person who instantly makes you feel comfortable around her.  She also has one of the biggest and brightest smiles I’ve ever seen, and a joyously happy laughter to go with it.  I’m so glad she allowed me to ask her some questions about her life and career as a pilot in the United States Air Force, and share them here on our blog. (*We are using only her initials because she is a member of the U.S. Air Force and requests that her name remain anonymous for this interview)     Tell us a little about yourself and what work you do I’m a Florida girl, born and (mostly) raised.  We moved overseas for a few years as a child, but always back to Florida.  I joined the Air Force Reserve almost 2 years ago.  Right now I am finishing up some training on the C130.  It’s a pretty awesome, large cargo …

Monday Menagerie #15

    Women who WORK IT. There are way too many inspiring women out there to compile them all in one Menagerie, but this is an itty bitty selection of women who stood out to me this past week.   Baddie Winkle. Holy smokes, I seriously adore this woman!!!!  I know her whole getup is purposefully styled and meant to “impress” in a way, but you can just see the genuine spirit in this woman, the pure love for irreverence, silliness, and fun.  I think it’s SO cool that her family takes part in this, and helps to share her sweet funness with the world. (check her Instagram, I was dying all over the place looking at it!!) (Shared by Kristin Tona)     ELIZABETH HOLMES She’s the “World’s Youngest Self-Made Female Billionaire”.  Yup. “She dropped out of Stanford her sophomore year in 2003 to found Theranos, a company that develops more effective, easier-to-use blood tests.  At the age of 31, Holmes was named the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire.” Read more and watch this interview with her from Makers.   …

Interview with Carmella Yeo – Work, Family, and Loving Life

 Carmella is a dear friend of mine, and also a very hardworking woman.  We’ve been friends for 15 years, and she is one of the strongest and most joyful individuals I’ve ever known; she makes no excuses but just gets stuff DONE, and she’s always there for people.  Her heart is as big as her bright smile, and I’m so thankful she agreed to share some of her life with us in this interview!         Introduction: Tell us a little about yourself and your family Well, I am a proud mama of 3– Amaya, 11; Noah Jr., 8; & Alina, 7 months old. Amaya, our firstborn, is in 6th grade (I can’t believe I have a middle schooler!) and is my future veterinarian. She is this feisty and smart young lady with a love for animals that amazes me. I call her the animal whisperer. She is like a walking animal encyclopedia. You can ask her just about anything to do with animals and she will have the answer. Noah Jr., our middle child, …

An Ode to Love, Adventure, Life, Together.

10 August, 2015.  Late morning, inspiration.   The month of August here at Project:Women is dedicated to “Travels, Adventures, and Time for Self”.  This story wasn’t the one I was planning to write.  Not at all… but sometimes you just have to go with the flow of the mysterious muse and let it happen. This morning I read a beautiful post that Jamie B. wrote in honor of the wedding anniversary of my husband and I, and it inspired me so deeply that I sat down to write.  Those are the moments we dream of, as writers.  For the words to just flow out, naturally and quickly.  Ha, come to think of it, it’s rather like birthing a baby.  You desire for it to be quick and pain-free, but often it isn’t.  Often it is a labor of love (and of course childbirth is literally that!)  But no matter how easily or not-so-easily those words may come out, it is yet another kind of challenge to share them.  To share the words of the heart is to …

Monday Menagerie #10

FLOTUS pounds it out, Ronda Rousey knocks it out, Amy Schumer speaks it out, Broad City dances it out, and grown women in Hollywood ROCK IT OUT.  Also.. babies, no-schooling, and a Pink Rabbits cover to dream about. FLOTUS “let’s move” You’ve probably heard about Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, but have you seen this video?  I don’t know if it’s appropriate to describe our First Lady as “kick-ass”, but she SO is. “Republican or Democrat.. How awesome is it that she just wants to make the nation healthier?! #somuchyes”  –Kristin (shared by Kristin Tona) Ronda Rousey Is Unstoppable I received not one but two emails from my cousin (and Project:Women contributor) Kristin Tona about Ronda Rousey, a young woman who is shaking up–or more accurately, knocking out– the UFC world of fighting.  I will let Kristin fill you in, she does it with such gusto!! “I love that it talks in the beginning about how the President of the UFC joked that women will never be in the UFC.  But now here he is.. …