My First International Women’s Day
Once upon a time (March, 2004), my friends and I were taking Russian language classes. These classes met five days a week. Deep in our fourth semester, we were getting a little tired of going to Russian class day-in and day-out (not that I was going *exactly* every day). So instead, we hatched an amazing plan.
Rather then go to class, we decided to have a vodka-fueled dance party in my friend’s apartment. Wednesday morning. 11:30 am. The Svedka flowed and Peaches blasted on the stereo. We were in heaven.
However, the following day, our Russian professor was not pleased. In her late twenties, Yana had short red hair, sharp blue eyes, and a thick Russian accent. She’d mentored our Russian club, invited us into her house to meet her husband, and baked us her homemade pirogies.
When Yana walked into the class, she looked us all in the eye, mad as hell. I’ve seen professors mad, but I’d never seen a Russian mad. Yana’s anger had a little something extra to it: anger and betrayal and centuries of fine-honed wrath.
She cleared her throat and in a half-shout (very loud for our tiny classroom) stated, “I would wish you all a Happy International Women’s Day, but…”
I don’t remember what happened after that. Maybe she left and slammed the door. Maybe she gave us a pop quiz. I only remember the sweet taste of freedom the day before and the anger in her face.
I should have felt bad (I probably did at the time), but that mid-day dance party (which we imortalized as Hipster Wednesday) is still one of my favorite memories from college. Maybe one of my favorite memories of all time.
It was also my first taste of International Women’s Day, a holiday that has gotten short-shrift in the US. The internet seems to be changing this the way it’s changing everything else.
To celebrate, I want to introduce you to five women artists who own their own businesses. They bake amazing food and write fabulous novels and design gorgeous works of art. If you’re in the market for cookies, a short story anthology, or awesome custom jewelry, these women deserve your attention.
Lindsey Owen Custom Jewelry
Lindsey Owen Leath is a fellow Jayhawk and badass jewelry designer. I follow her IG account, and I have my eye on this black matt custom-fitted enamel cuff. It’s also fun to watch the videos from her using the kiln in her Fort Worth, Texas studio. There’s someting insanely cool about a woman using fire to make beautiful jewelry.
She lets you custom order, which is great. You can fit your wrist before she makes the piece for you, so you know your bracelet will fit perfectly. She also has rad earrings and necklaces.
Emily Miller Yamanaka
Emily Miller Yamanaka is another Jayhawk (we’re kind of the best). In school, she had these amazing woven designs and textile projects. After leaving Kansas, she moved to Japan to teach, staying there to start a family. Over the past thirteen years, her works have matured and have this amazing combination of Kansas history and subjects (including the Wichita flag and American bison), Japanese techniques and imagery, and (true to her textile background) amazing layers and textures.
You can order from her directly on Etsy, but if you’re in Kansas you can follow her Facebook page to see her upcoming shows now that she’s back. Check out her IG for great works-in-progress pictures (I always love these kinds of glimpses into the artist’s work).
Sweet Sassy Molassey Bakeshop
You’ve actually met my friend Nicole Davol Rhoads on here before, when she gave me these awesome Atlanta tips to pass along. But what I didn’t say at the time was that she owns her own organic online bakery. If you’re in Georgia, you can see her at farmer’s markets and pop up shops or order online. (Or if you’re traveling to Georgia, you can order ahead of time).
Running Wild Press
I first met Lisa D. Kastner in 2009 when I signed up for some writing courses she was teaching in Philadelphia. Her small writing studio, Running Wild Writers, was one of my favorite things about Philly. When she moved to Los Angelos a few years ago, I was thrilled for her, but I missed her and her writing studio so much.
Besides being an inspiring writing mentor, she’s a freaking fantastic writer. Now she’s launched a new venture, Running Wild Press! RWP’s first major work, an anothology of short stories, is available on Amazon with an eBook coming soon. I’m waiting until the Kindle edition comes out (I haven’t figured out how to get packages in Bulgaria yet). If you’re an aspiring writer, she’s accepting novella submissions now throug mid-April.
Little Gypsy Media
Stacy Johnson is half of the Little Gypsy Media team. A fellow digital nomad, she and her partner Dom make creative, bespoke websites. I love the work she’s done for me (She designed the side bar of my website. Not sure if you remember what it looked like before, but it was A MESS). Finding web designers who do beautiful, custom designs at prices solopreneurs like me can afford is HARD. And finding people that you love working with over and over is even harder. Follow LGM on IG to see Stacy’s inspiration and work samples, and Facebook for information about packages and sales.
Sometimes a website is just a website, but when Stacy turns it into art it’s so much more exciting!