Author: Tara Tona

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.. …

Monday Menagerie #5

  Just another week full of things that made us smile or made us think… it’s the Monday Menagerie 😀          …The good news you already heard about, but we are still celebrating!  (From the Twitter accounts of The First Lady and Hillary Clinton, respectively.)         Love Has No Labels This video speaks for itself. ❤   Architect’s future ‘Vegetal Cities’ merge nature with the man-made This is SO cool, I wish wish wish we could live in a world where this was reality.  Maybe one day…     Why I Can’t Forgive Dylann Roof Roxane Gay writes so powerfully in this piece.  Although I wish there were more conversations happening about what we as individuals, as a society, can do to help detect and prevent such atrocities from happening.  They aren’t comfortable topics, but gun control and pharmaceutical drug control both need to be moved to the top of the list. Prescription pharmaceuticals have been associated with all the major shootings of this nature in recent times.  Perhaps we should …

Fathers Share Their Thoughts and Advice

This past Father’s Day, we asked a question on our social media:  “What do you love about being a dad, and what advice would you give to a new father?” Here are the wonderful responses from our community of men…   What do I love about being a dad? Seeing your children discover the world with innocent eyes. The pure joy, kindness and humor they exhibit never cease to amaze me. It’s not all fun and games though. It is an adjustment. It is a complete change of life…once you are a dad, you will never again come first. You’ll get frustrated like never before. They’ll break your heart. But they’ll also inspire you, give you love that you never thought you’d experience, laughter like you’ve never had before, and give your life a new meaning!  – Joel Tesch   What I love most about being a dad is the unconditional love I receive everyday. My son Cooper Grant D’Ambrosio fills my life with laughter and love everyday and on occasion he adds to my gray …

Monday Menagerie #1

We are starting a new feature here at Project:Women– the Monday Menagerie. Every day we find so much great stuff out there– articles, videos, images, stories, bits and pieces of brilliance– and we wanted a way to share those discoveries in a concise and convenient way on the blog.  So each week I’ll publish this compilation of the things that made our ears prick up, our minds take note, and our eyes sparkle; a cherry-picked basketful of goodness to get your week going! Mother Nature is Speaking This is the best short video I’ve seen all year (in any category).  I had chills watching it, and was saying in my head “Yes!  Hell yes!!!!”  I have never liked that over-used, empty phrase “let’s save the world”, and I can’t say just how refreshing and uplifting this take on Earth consciousness is… it feels genuinely empowering.  And the voice of Julia Roberts delivers this so beautifully, and with so much STRENGTH. http://natureisspeaking.org/mothernature.html (shared by Sara Godwin D’Ambrosio & Jamie Bullock) We Need to Stop Saying “Babies Ruin Bodies” Because mothers’ …

Love + Fear: When I Became a Mother

Preface:  This small story is my attempt to convey, in words, the emotions that occur in those first days after having a baby. Yet there are no words that exist to fully elucidate what those feelings are truly like…    From the moment my daughter met the outside world, I was a changed human being. That’s what happens when you give birth for the first time.. you change in a way that is total,  immediate, and undeniably profound.  There are absolutely no words to describe the feeling of looking at, holding, your very first child for the very first time.  It is all of life in a single moment.  It is love, wrapped up in fear, wrapped up in love.   It is transcendent. Those first few days were so intense.  The breastfeeding, the love and the worry.  The physical discomfort. It’s a mixture of the physical alterations of your own body and the mental saturation of processing so many new emotions, all while having this entirely new human being to care for.  Your body …

May for Mothers

We are dedicating the month of May to mothers, and to kick things off we ask you our question of the month:   “What advice would you give to a new mother?” Are you a mother and would love to share some advice?  We want to hear it!  Post your written comments here on the blog, or post them on our Facebook page, or send in a video of yourself with your fabulous mama advice!  We can’t wait to hear all the words of wisdom you have to share.

Mother is Love

Mother. I think the defining characteristic that makes someone a mother isn’t just having birthed a child.  It is a bond, a love, something so deep it is incomprehensible.  It is a caring of and devotion to another human being, it is a giving of oneself to another.  It is love. Mama.  Maybe you are one, or want to be one.  Maybe you aren’t one and never want to be.  But, we all have one. Sometimes a mother is adopted, sometimes a mother is also a father, sometimes a father is a mother. We each have a unique bond with our mother that is wholly our own.  It is a complex, often difficult to understand relationship that lasts our whole lives, even when our mother isn’t present. Because she is and will always be present within us. I don’t think it’s possible to define a mother by any one word, except perhaps the word love.  Because that is the intangible form that a mother represents.  Being love.  Giving love.  In all its complicated ways. I want …

Listen: Mamma Podcast You Will Love

I wasn’t looking to find a “mommy” podcast, but when I stumbled upon Hillary Frank’s radio show called The Longest Shortest Time, I was hooked from the first listen.  It just gets you. It’s comforting in that way that only girlfriends can be..  just talking, sharing, opening up.  The honest, real stuff.  But like, the real real stuff.  This show gets into the deep, dark, nitty-gritty parts of having a baby, the parts that are scary or awkward to talk about, but feel real good to get out. So if you’re a mamma, or about to be one, take a listen.  I think you’ll dig it. Here’s a few of my favorite episodes so far (and one that pissed me off): The New You, It’ll Do If the first story in this episode makes your eyes well up (as it did mine), then the second story might get you laughing. An excerpt from the second story, from conversation between Hillary, who’s daughter is 5, and Jane Marie: Hillary:  “…I haven’t gone back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  …

Skater girls and Biker chicks in the Middle East

There is something happening in the Middle East right now, and it doesn’t have anything to do with bombs, oil, or politics.  But it does involve some badass chicks on wheels. I found these two stories within a week of each other, and all of a sudden I realized that women are quietly changing things in the Middle East (and HAVE been for a while, even if we haven’t seen it).  Change can take place in many forms, it doesn’t just have to be through street protests and revolutions.  Change can also be a girl on a skateboard, or a woman on a motorbike.   Kesh Angels, a 2014 art installation by Moroccan photographer/filmmaker Hassan Hajjaj, showcases a series of playful, vibrant images of young Islamic female bikers.  These women give off a vibe of total self-confidence, one that is contagious.  Even with their bodies and faces fully covered, they challenge the stereotype of the typical Islamic woman:  It is a subtle message of fierce strength, delivered through brightly-colored, vividly patterned clothing and the incredibly confident …

The Women Behind Project:Women

Hello!  This is our introduction video for Project:Women, where we tell you a little about ourselves, how Project:Women got started, and what we want to do here.  Also, we ask you one BIG QUESTION, to get the ball rolling. The question is… What is your favorite thing about being a woman? Comment, share, connect with us!  We want to hear your voice. PS.  This video was our very first take, and it is twice as long as our “final version” that we shared on our Youtube channel.  But we decided to share this one here because it shows our true selves, silliness, imperfections and all.  And that is what Project:Women is all about. filmed by Paul Hurley 🙂

Masks We Wear, and Letting Go of Fear.

Hiding behind a mask.  It feels acutely relevant to me right now… Perhaps that’s why the art of Judith Henry grabbed onto me as it did.  I found her the other day (via my 1stdibs.com newsletter, of all earthly places) and instantly got a warm feeling from her work.  Mostly from her, but also from her artistic expression through these masks.  And looking at her creations made me feel this thing that’s been hiding beneath… I’m struggling with something.  Wrestling with this intangible concept of what it means to share oneself.  To reveal, strip nude, expose thyself.  How to find the balance between creative exposure and outright over-sharing.  But I’m not even there yet.. I’m stuck, penned in by the gate of Privacy and Self-defence, holding tight to my deeply-rooted trait of “keeping to myself”. What am I doing. I think it’s time to break down some walls. Many years ago, when I was in my early 20’s and figuring myself out, my dad said something to me that was heavy, profound: “People are like …

Watch: Miu Miu’s “Women’s Tales” Short Films

Take a moment, escape into a dreamy, beautiful, complex world of women… I can’t recall how I stumbled upon this, but I’m so glad I did.  Women’s Tales is a series of short films brought together by Miuccia Prada.  All are written and directed by women, and feature some truly lovely, talented female actors. Why I love this collection:   These films make you feel the power, beauty, vulnerability, complexity of women.  They made me both laugh and cry, feel at ease and feel uncomfortable. They are each no more than about 15 minutes long, just long enough to draw you completely into their worlds, but not so long that you have to “find the time” to watch them.  And so much gorgeous fashion!!  Since it’s a film collection by Miuccia, most all of the costumes are from the MiuMiu collection.  Doubly fabulous. My mini-reviews of each: * #1 “The Powder Room”, by Zoe Cassavetes.  Features groovy, retro music, has a slight 80’s vibe.  It’s like a dream, soft and gradual, without any clear point.  Perhaps …

Julianne Moore quote

I finally got to peek at my new Bazaar magazine tonight, a delight I haven’t enjoyed in a while.  Fashion magazines (mainly Bazaar and W) are my guilty pleasure, and I don’t indulge in them as often as I used to.  Which makes those times ever more precious… the quiet, still moments, after baby is tucked away in bed, to just sip a cup of warm tea and be taken away into another land. The latest issue features a brief piece on the great Julianne Moore, who is just such a fun, talented, cool woman (listen to her interview with Alec Baldwin on his radio show Here’s The Thing– it’s great). This little part, from the end of the Bazaar interview, really grabbed on to me. “…Women are fabulous.  I like our camaraderie, our similarities, how we collaborate.  When my daughter was born, I looked at her in the bassinet and I said, ‘You’re one of us.’… I’m going to cry if I think about it too much.  I had this little girl and was like, ‘Yup.  You’re one …

Listen: “Women in Clothes” Read Live

This glorious International Women’s Day I found myself listening to one of the best short stories I’d heard in a while, on the radio show Selected Shorts. It’s a book called Women in Clothes–and not really a short story but a compilation of true stories, almost like diary entries, from many different women of different backgrounds.  It’s about these women’s relationships with their garments, but also much more than that. The stories speak of concerns, insecurities, love, pride, comfort, hard work, toil, strife, gender identity, and even the power of a scented coat. What I love about these stories is they reveal Clothing as a language of communication.  Attire that speaks to you, about you.  Sartorial synchronization.  What do the inhabitants of your closet do to your personality, your character, your mood? My two favorites:  The story Clothes on the Ground, a conversation with a Cambodian garment worker.  Simply and beautifully told, it made me appreciate my undergarments a great deal more.  And This Person is a Robot about a smell scientist who goes into an NYC coat …

Listen: “Invisibilia” Best New Podcast by Two Amazing Women.

The truth is I started adoring Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel long before their seriously great new podcast, Invisibilia, hit the airwaves. I first heard their voices on Radiolab and This American Life, respectively, and would always perk up when they came on a segment of either show.  They just have a way, a feel… like a comfy, cozy, not-too-serious-yet-highly-intelligent way about them.  And Lulu makes me want to pinch her cheeks right through the darn radio. Their collective charm, years of scientific reporting, and podcasting prowess are brought to glorious light in Invisibilia.  The topics they have covered so far are brilliant, and frankly so profound that I wonder how it is that these topics aren’t more widely discussed already.  But here these women are, bringing it to us with their strong, playful, feminine voices, talking of things that could shift the polarity of the whole world.  (Or at very least, get us thinking in a groovy new way). A direct link to their NPR page is HERE. Their podcast is on iTunes and the awesome Stitcher app. …

Grown Women Having a Modeling Moment

Yes, this rocks. Not only are these women “grown-up”, but they are also influential female powerhouses. There’s something in the air, and it feels like a fresh, new version of feminism:  Equality among the ages.  (feminism is defined as equality between the sexes, but why should age be left out?)  Joan Didion for Céline, 2015 and Joni Mitchell for Saint Laurent’s Music Project, 2015. I don’t mind seeing young, beautiful models in high fashion.  Pretty Young Things are, well, pretty and make everything around them sort of glow, it’s true.  But when I saw these ads of Joan and Joni I wanted to jump on my chair.  It felt like something REAL, and powerful… fashion as represented by women of experience and accomplishment.  (I feel it necessary here to make a note about women whose career is/was being a model, and who also do great work–there are many!  Liya Kebede, Karolina Kurkova, Natalia Vodianova, Christy Turlington-Burns, Lauren Hutton.. just to name a few). A young female writer, Elisa Rodriguez-Vila, recently wrote a short piece titled “What if all the major …

Thought of the Week

If you want to be a force for good, then you must expose yourself to the bad. This thought entered my mind after listening to the news the other morning.  Day after day of absorbing all the disturbing headlines had gotten to me. I’ve gone through brief fazes before when I simply didn’t read or listen to the news because I had gotten so down about it.  Feeling like, what can I do?  The problems in the world, in our country, in our own cities, are so great and complex that it can feel pointless to even ponder them.  Or at least it can sometimes drag you down into a vortex of negative thoughts.  But here’s the thing… If you do have a desire, a little flame inside of you burning bright, to make some kind of positive impact on humanity (even if it’s teeny tiny), then in order to do so I think it’s imperative to be aware of the bad in the world.  The negative, unhappy, uncomfortable things that humanity imposes on one another.  Because without being …

Karl Lagerfeld’s Feminist Fashionistas

What a fantastic scene… The spring 2015 runway show by Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel was brought to a close with a rambunctious, glorious gang of models as feminists in mock protest. Yes, it was only a show.  A high-end fashion show for the elite brand of Chanel.  But come on… it was genius and so much fun!!  And honestly even though it was all done in the name of fashion, it also had a powerful effect.  It brought the current conversation of women’s equality to the fore within the domain of fashion, where typically the focus is on hemlines and it-bags.  And that’s worth something. From the Chanel News website, this was said of the show: “…these Chanel women are free-spirited and daring; they progress far beyond mere social norms; they are independent, modern, and active, in the very image of Gabrielle Chanel. …they walk the streets of major cities with long, confident strides.” I dig it.   Photo credits: Top image Getty Images via Bazaar; next image via pop sugar; next image via Bazaar; Bottom image by …

Lady Gilbert

A little dedication post to a clever, talented, and generally pretty great woman:  Elizabeth Gilbert. Part of why I adore her so much is for her wit and humor.. she isn’t afraid to crack silly jokes, poke a little fun, but also attend to serious subjects with care and intelligence, and quite a bit of insight. If you follow her at all then you already know this:  She has a new book coming out in September!  And it seems totally up my alley, all about creativity and taking chances.  Yesssss… good stuff all around. I began doing the Twitter thing recently, and she was one of the first people I started following.  Definitely one of my favorites, she keeps things lively (and ever-inspiring!) Her website is full of goodies too.  This is from a piece she wrote about her Thoughts on Writing: In the end, I love this work. I have always loved this work. My suggestion is that you start with the love and then work very hard and try to let go of the results. Cast …

A Note.

I wrote this note to myself on January 1 of this year, before I realized I’d be doing this blog.  Can’t tell you how amazing (and scary and overwhelming, etc.) it feels to be doing it.  Putting yourself “out there” in any way (even with a tiny little blog!) is nerve-racking… but man it’s good for the soul.