Monthly Crushlist - 5 things we're obsessed with this month

At the end of one of my favorite podcasts, the NPR Politics Podcast, the host always get a little personal with “Can’t Let it Go.” They share one thing they just can’t get out of their heads from that week.

This September crushlist is a snippet of the inspiring, everyday miracles and empowering women that we find and seek out. Their words, projects and images have quickly become things we “can’t let go.” And we wouldn’t want to!

I hope these five little mentions stick with you in a big way. Click, explore, wander through what could be a brand new world-view. And if you discover something here that you don’t want to let go of either, we hope you’ll share it and spread the spark.

1. Fashionista/Activist Hoda Katebi

(Images from JooJooAzad)

She popped up in the pages of Vogue this month, outshining the Valentino they dressed her in, but Katebi has been rocking fashion and activism for years.

Founder of the political fashion blog JooJoo Azad (“Free Bird” in Farsi) and author the book Tehran Streetstyle, we don’t just love following her for the gorgeous pics of her travels to places like Cuba. Katebi is also the founder of Because We’ve Read, an international book club created to “challenge & redefine the way you think about the world.” Soon she'll add Azadi Collection to her list of projects, a fashion label launching next spring that focuses on the intersection of Iranian culture & femininity.

2. Wabi-Sabi

(Images from Candice Kumai)

In Japanese tradition, “wabi-sabi” means a world view that’s centered on the belief that imperfection is beautiful, a beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.”

Translating that concept for 21st-century ELLE readers, Candice Kumai—a chef, bestselling author and of of Arianna Huffington’s “Top 20 New Role Models in 2017”—hosts the Wabi Sabi podcast. She dives into ideas like “Kintsugi,” the Japanese practice of fixing broken objects by putting them back together with gold, and “How to Get Your Shit Together,” a completely universal issue.

Beyond translating traditional Japanese ideas into modern life, Kumai shares drool-worthy photos of matcha chocolate cake and inspiring stories about putting herself through culinary school when everyone (including her mother) doubted her.

3. Asking the question: “Are you the Mouse or the Elephant?” 

Illustration by Avi Katz

Illustration by Avi Katz

We came across this question, from from Laura A. Liswood’s book The Loudest Duck: Moving Beyond Diversity while Embracing Differences to Achieve Success at Work, and wow is it spot-on!

“Imagine a room with two animals—a mouse, and an elephant.

If you are the elephant in the room, how much do you need to know about the mouse to survive? Not much. Your massive foot can trample the mouse with one accidental step.

Yet if you are the mouse in the room, how much do you need to know about the elephant? Just about everything—you need to be able to predict its movements, know its habits, anticipate its rituals.

The elephant knows almost nothing about the mouse...while the mouse survives by knowing everything about the other. Herein lies the dynamic between the dominant and nondominant groups in the workplace.”

It’s worth thinking on the next time you walk into a meeting. 

4. Things in My Mouth


(Images from @thingsinmymouth)

That’s right. This account looks like a perfectly LipSense-d mouth, only between the teeth you’ll find things like...a Barbie Head, a bag of weed, a Rolex. Tap to read the caption and it turns out to be a lot more than a pretty pink pout.

Things in My Mouth makes deep socio-political issues interesting. Recently, a picture with dice between the teeth talked about your odds of being shot in America (25x more likely than in any other developed nation). A picture with a safety pin educated the public about Food Safety Month, and one with a Jasmine doll talked about gender stereotypes and balance in childhood activities.

If you want feed that looks badass and also makes you feel like the most politically turned-in person at the table—scroll away!

5. Diversifying the pics we scroll through.

(Images from Stephanie Keith, Hannah Foslien, Sarah Hoffman, from left to right)

Think of all the images on your news feed...on the ads. Going deeper—who took that photo?

There’s increasing visibility and accessibility for minority photographers, whose work is often bypassed, thanks to new databases of women and minority photographers like Diversify Photo and Women Photograph. Thanks to editors and photographers like Tara Pixley, whose article “Why We Need More Photographers and Editors of Color” details her experiences with the sad lack of diversity she witnessed in newsrooms over 14 years, people are starting to think more about who picks the photos we see daily...and what we might all be missing.

There are few people of color and even fewer women of color in news photo editor roles. A 2016 American Society of News Editors survey reported that only 13 percent of newsroom leaders were minorities and that black and Latina women represented 2.2 percent and 1.45 percent of news leadership, respectively.” - Tara Pixley