anna brones

writer + artist + activist

New Book: “Live Lagom: Balanced Living the Swedish Way”

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Today marks the release of my new book Live Lagom: Balanced Living the Swedish Way. I love book birthdays because they are the ideal time to give a little backstory on the book and what it meant for me to write it.

Lagom is a Swedish word that doesn’t have a direct translation in English, but means something along the lines of “just right.” As the title of the book would have you believe, it’s a look at how the concept of lagom translates into various elements of Swedish society, and identifies some of the lessons that we might be able to incorporate into our own lives.

But you don’t need me to tell you what’s in the book; you can buy it to get that story! You’re here for the inner look.

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Written by Anna Brones

July 27, 2017 at 06:15

#withthesethighs

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“Ugh, my thighs look huge.”

My friend and I were flipping through our photos from a recent bike camping trip. There was so much good going on in the photo; we were happy and goofy, the sun was shining. You could see it on our faces, that we were in one of those rare moments that not much mattered but the present, that we were enthralled with the simple act of riding our bicycles, feeling the wind on our faces and talking about whatever came to our minds. Yet here I was, entirely ignoring the beauty of that moment captured in the photo, and instead, focused on how my thighs looked.

I am not alone. This is an automatic reaction for many women: to focus on our appearance above all else. It’s almost second nature when you look at a photo of yourself or stare into the mirror, or simply gather together with another group of women. We have a tendency to pick ourselves apart, focus on all the things we wished looked better, be it our thighs, our hips, our stomachs, our noses, our breasts, our ankles. It’s all up for judgment and scrutiny.

This may seem vain, and to some extent it is, but the onus isn’t just on us; we are after all raised in a culture that teaches us that vanity is of the utmost importance. That how we look shows who we are.

A body is much more than something to sculpt and maintain. A body is our way to get around, our way to see the world. Our body holds our heart and our emotions, it is our vehicle for existing.

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Written by Anna Brones

July 6, 2017 at 11:01

Adventure Journals

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What inspires you to get out and adventure?

That was the driving question behind this collection of three Adventure Journals, a special, limited edition collaboration with my friends over at Wylder Goods. Inspired by the pursuit of adventure – whether it’s a bike ride, a cup of coffee brewed outside, or a night under the stars – these journals are there to accompany you and provide a home for your thoughts, musings and ponderings.

They each feature one of my papercuts, and are printed by Scout Books in Portland, Oregon.

What makes these special:

  • 100% recycled Kraft cover!
  • 100% recycle white interior paper!
  • 100% awesome!

You can snag them in my shop or over on Wylder Goods.

Written by Anna Brones

June 30, 2017 at 14:31

A Strawberry Cake to Celebrate Swedish Midsummer

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Summer solstice marks the longest day of the year, and that’s cause for celebration. This week is one of sunshine stretching into the evening, carpets of wildflowers in the midst of grassy fields, bare feet and picnic blankets.

For me, it marks the celebration of Swedish midsommar, which will be celebrated this Friday. The traditional midsommar spread of food is one of my favorites, featuring some of my favorite dishes like marinated cucumbers, pickled herring (which you can even use in a savory cake), and plenty of knäckebröd.

But my favorite part of midsommar has to be dessert. Strawberry cake is one of the most common desserts on the Swedish midsommar table, and it puts seasonal berries front and center. It’s a simple dessert, topped with plenty of whipped cream and bright red berries.

I like to make the cake with cardamom, and even marinate a few strawberries in honey and cardamom to use as the center filling. The cake is cut in half, so that you can layer it, but if you want to make an even fancier cake, consider making two of them and layering them.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 21, 2017 at 07:35

‘I Look Like a Fisherman’ Greeting Cards

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In honor and support of the women who fish our seas, I teamed up with Salmon Sisters to make a limited edition of benefit greeting cards. They were inspired by the I Look Like a Farmer cards I did last fall.

The result is five different cards featuring papercuts of mine. The series is titled ‘I Look Like a Fisherman’ and 50% of proceeds will be donated to sponsoring a promising young female fishermen to attend the 2017 Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit in Anchorage, Alaska.

The Summit takes place December 6-8, 2017, and is an incredible resource for fishermen getting started in the industry. Each set of five cards comes with five envelopes. The 5×7″ greeting cards are printed on 100 lb. cover Desert Storm Neenah Environment paper, FSC certified and 30% post consumer. The cards are printed in Seattle, Washington by women-owned printing company Girlie Press.

I love working on projects like these that highlight (and also support) the hard work of our food producers. You can buy a set of cards on the Salmon Sisters website or on my site

 

Written by Anna Brones

March 23, 2017 at 11:07

Empowering Women Coffee Farmers

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“To rebuild the spirit of a woman is to rebuild the spirit of a country.” That’s part of the mission statement of Rebuild Women’s Hope, an organization based in Bukavu, on the edge of Lake Kivu in the Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was started by a local Congolese woman and the organization works to empower local women coffee farmers. It’s one of many initiatives around the world focused on empowering women coffee farmers.

I wrote an article all about the topic that was published this week on Sprudge. Here’s a short snippet:

As part of that agricultural web, coffee is an industry dependent on the work of women around the globe, making gender equity an essential part of the sustainable coffee supply chain. “Most of the obstacles faced by women coffee farmers are the same as those found across the agriculture sector,” says Nick Watson, a coffee-sector adviser with the International Trade Centre, who has an initiative focused on women in coffee. “Social norms often discriminate against women in rural areas leading to disproportionate land and asset ownership; household and income decision making; time and labour distribution; access to information and training; and participation and leadership in rural organisations or as registered suppliers to agribusinesses.”

Despite these obstacles, it’s often thanks to women that the coffee production happens in the first place. “Women are on the front lines when it comes to our beloved cup of coffee. They serve as the primary labor force on roles that most affect quality, from picking the ripe coffee cherries off the tree to sorting beans throughout processing. Despite their significant role, most earnings go to men who own the property and manage commercial deals,” says Phyllis Johnson, president of BD Imports.

You can read the full article here.

Image: Glenna Gordon courtesy ITC

Written by Anna Brones

March 17, 2017 at 09:41

Downloadable “Fighting for What is Right” Poster for Women’s March and Beyond

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Fighting for What is Right is Worth It by Anna Brones

Pablo Picasso once said that, “Painting is not made to decorate apartments. It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.”

The same can be said for art in general. Art is a powerful tool. It is how we communicate. It is how we express ourselves. I made a papercut the day after the U.S. presidential election, inspired by a line in Hillary Clinton’s speech. I eventually turned it into a limited edition print.

In honor of the Women’s March on Washington, and the many marches and protests that I hope are to come as we as citizens stand up for ourselves, our sisters and our brothers, I decided to make a downloadable version. It’s free and available to anyone who wants to use it. Art for the people. Print it, post it, carry it.

Download here.

Written by Anna Brones

January 16, 2017 at 13:05