Let's hear it for these new authors!

+ our new feminist city guide to Athens

In today’s newsletter: books to have on your radar and a feminist city guide to Athens. This month, a portion of the profits from paid newsletter subscriptions will be donated to World Central Kitchen. Previous organizations we’ve supported include Refugio Animal Holbox, WomankindGirls Write NowWomen for WomenHeart of Dinner & Black Mamas Matter. If you’ve found your way here but are not yet subscribed, let me help you with that:

If there is any silver lining to the past year of quarantine, it is how much creativity sparked as a result of people staying in. This is perhaps no more obvious than in the waves of newly published books that are now dancing across my social media feed.

The journey of writing a book is a beautiful, challenging, inspiring, and drawn-out process. Whether you opt to self-publish a book or go the route of working with a publisher, I have a lot of respect for all authors. To pull an idea out of your head, transcribe it into words, and have the courage to share it with the world is an act of bravery. There are two women in my network that have recently published incredible books:

For those who aren’t familiar with Kelly Lewis, you need only look around the women’s travel space to see her golden mark imprinted on nearly every facet of the industry. From women’s travel conferences to tour companies — Lewis has managed to build a veritable empire rooted in the belief that women can do anything. Whether you spot her on stage at her annual Women’s Travel Fest, ramping up the crowd of women; or at a travel event mingling with other female trailblazers — Lewis’s reputation as a powerhouse precedes her.

Like most great women, Lewis’s past is one riddled with adversity and naysayers. It is a vulnerability that she pours into the pages of her new bookTell Her She Can’t, alongside 35 other women with inspiring stories to share. This idea of pushing past doubts — whether those doubts are planted by society or oneself — is the foundation of this book, which promises to encourage women to see beyond their perceived limitations. Be it physical, mental, or societal obstacles, the women of Tell Her She Can’t are a reminder to all of us that we are both our greatest enemies and — if we silence the doubts — our biggest champions.

Check out our interview with Kelly

Too often, when people picture Iran they imagine a war-torn country defined by words like “oppression” or “conservatism.” While many are quick to label Iran and, in turn, pass judgment on its people, others — like Iranian-American award-winning journalist, Tara Kangarlou — are looking to spotlight the beauty of this misunderstood country.

For those unfamiliar with Kangarlou, she is a celebrated journalist, author, and humanitarian whose work has been featured on CNN, CNN International, NBC, Huffington Post, and Al Jazeera America. In an industry too often dominated by white men, Kangarlou has risen through the ranks by reporting on cutting-edge stories that explore everything from presidential elections to the refugee crisis.

Beyond her reportage, Kangarlou has turned her passion into a nonprofit called Art of Hope, which focuses on helping Syrian refugees overcome the mental health issues brought on by war. In her latest endeavor, Kangarlou — who was originally born and raised in Tehran — has authored a book that explores the unseen intricacies of Iranian life. Her book, The Heartbeat of Iran, is a homage to the diverse fabric of Iranian society. 

Check out our interview with Tara

Empowering communities through food

Because of the paid subscribers of this newsletter, every month we have been able to support the work of some inspiring organizations. So far, we’ve supported Heart of Dinner’s efforts to feed the elderly Asian community in NYC. We’ve donated to Black Mamas Matter and their continued work to protect the maternal health rights of Black women.

We’ve donated to Women for Women and their inspiring work to support women in war-torn countries. We’ve donated to the woman-owned animal shelter Refugio Animal Holbox and their ongoing efforts to save and re-home Mexico’s stray animals. We’ve championed future diverse writers through Girls Write Now, and much more. All of this is to say THANK YOU for supporting this newsletter and, in turn, allowing us to turn that support into actionable change that helps women, girls, and even pups.

For the month of July, we’ll be donating a percentage of proceeds to World Central Kitchen (WCK). Founded by chef José Andrés, WCK is a non-profit organization that empowers communities and economies through food. Whenever a natural or manmade disaster strikes, chef Andrés and his team are on the frontlines making sure everyone is well-fed. Help me support this incredible non-profit by becoming a paid subscriber (and unlocking some cool perks).

A celebration of Athens’ women-owned businesses

It could be argued that Athens is a quintessentially feminist city. After all, Greece’s capital was named after the Goddess, Athena. From women-owned businesses to nonprofits that support migrant families, here’s how you can explore Athens through the lens of both learning about and supporting its local women.

Feminist City Guide to Athens

The Flight Attendant, Britney Spears, and pitching your stories

I might be the last person to jump on this bandwagon, but check out The Flight Attendant on HBO Max. The show blends a murder mystery with travel — truly, could you ask for anything more? When you’re done binging the show, check out this incredible report by Ronan Farrow for The New Yorker. Ronan — who is most definitely Sinatra’s son — investigated the details around Britney Spears’ conservatorship. To read about a powerful woman who has been completely subdued by men who profit off her work is, well, next-level infuriating. All I can say is #FreeBritney. For a lighter read, check out this article from Fodor’s Travel about Oregon’s Black winemakers. I’m headed to Oregon next month and will definitely be using this story as a guide. And, while we’re on the topic of Fodor’s Travel, I am their new editor! Feel free to pitch me your story ideas at nvargas@fodors.com or pitch me your stories for Unearth Women at unearthwomen@gmail.com.

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