Angela Tafoya is the Editorial Director at Lonny Magazine where she has overseen strategy in a changing media landscape. And while Angela is seriously impressive in her career, I am equally inspired by her commitment to being present in her personal life. From noticing the light in her kitchen to the beauty of sunsets over her hometown, I hope you feel encouraged and accompanied by reading this conversation-- it was a good reminder to me that we are not alone in our experiences of grief and joy. xx Caroline
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got your start in media? And how you got to Lonny?
I remember being interested in magazines from a young age, like 11 or 12. I recall reading the headlines on covers and thinking, “Wow, I wonder who gets to write these?!” At that point, as pre-teen living in the Southwest, I had absolutely no idea what an editor was or that there was an industry around it, I just thought it sounded interesting. I went on to study journalism in college and when I was in school I took a digital media class (this was in 2007-2008 when the internet, specifically blogging, was becoming a thing), it was there it became evident to me I wanted to really pursue media — specifically digital — or as they called it back then “new media” - ha!
I guess I have a pretty traditional path in the sense that in college I took on tons of internships (both print and digital) before making my way in the door as a digital content assistant at a regional publication called Angeleno. From there I continued to work jobs within the space, at PopSugar and Refinery29, until I landed at Lonny in 2016. I was covering a bit of everything at R29, from travel and weddings to local content and home, and it was home design and decor that appealed to me and I was excited to dive into it more seriously.
How has print vs digital changed since you have been in the game? I remember when lonny was in print and it was one of my faves!
Lonny has definitely had many lives! Back in 2009, it started out as a digital PDF format that mimicked print and it really was one of the first to do that — to create a digital experience that was produced and felt like a print magazine. When I came on, the brand had shifted away from that format and the goal was to reach a broader audience — changing the direction and voice to appeal to a wider audience and build the brand on the West Coast. And now, we’re shifting in that sense again, looking at off-platform content made exclusively for social. This ties into your point about how much has changed! In the digital space, it feels completely different from when I started with so much more focus on social media — this really is where people typically find, discover, and share information (no surprise there!). So, not only are publishers continuing to lean into social, but so many individuals are able to have a voice and a platform which lends itself to more points of views and perspectives being shared.
Angela with our Aquinnah Sky Napkins
I see you are expecting?! Are you also due in May?! Can you tell us a bit about becoming pregnant? I know we have lots of people in our community who would love to hear about your journey!
I’m due in the beginning of June, which is creeping up way faster than I anticipated! I have a little one at home, who is now six, and when we started trying for a second I naively figured it would be a breeze based on my past experience — we actually weren’t trying and I had such a smooth experience with her. Yeah, I was definitely wrong about that, but now that I look back I find it humbling and healing in a way. After a year of trying and two back-to-back losses (all over the duration of Covid-19), I felt totally defeated in the journey. We decided to give it one more go, which after putting my body through so much, would have probably been the last time — so when we learned we were pregnant and that it was viable it was so exciting. I look back at the ups and downs of the last year or so and while difficult, I was able to do a lot of inner work and sit with my grief, which I haven’t always given myself the space for. I learned a lot about myself and got in touch with parts of my existence I hadn’t really fostered — all through the pain. It took a while to relax into the pregnancy, because after going through loss I felt a little guarded and nervous, which is totally okay, but now I’m fully embracing it and that feels SO good. I’m grateful to be here and for the journey that brought me here.
On motherhood, how do you balance motherhood and work, its all been a giant puzzle for me trying to figure out how to do both well!
Over the years there have been peaks and valleys with work and motherhood. But, I’ve learned, for me, complete and total balance is unrealistic (also unfair, because men rarely are held to expectation of working and parenting the same way women are) and taking it day by day makes things feel more fluid and realistic — and I’m gentler on myself with that perspective. The biggest thing for me has been maintaining presence, when I am present with whatever I’m doing whether that’s playing with my daughter, going on a walk, working — that is when I feel like I’m in my own balance and connected.
We love your style and all your bold prints, can you tell us a bit about how you dress yourself and how it differs from how you “dress” or decorate your home?
I love prints and patterns. I have always been attracted to color, dimension, and funkiness in both my closet and home. I will admit I am not a neutrals person but I think over the years, specifically in my home, I’ve tried to take a beat before adding something totally permanent — ha! So, I am taking the time to think about the longevity of the piece and whether I’ll like it for years to come but I am a Gemini, so I do change my mind a lot. But, with my closet, it’s so fun because it’s way less of a commitment and I do like trying new things! I think it’s the place where you can take more risks.
What do you love the most about your home?
The kitchen is definitely my favorite space to hang out in and is the most utilized — its openness and pattern also brings me so much joy. The way the light hits in the morning on the dining room table revitalizes me. But, beyond the function and beauty of the main spaces, I just love the history and the fact it’s been around for so long. It was built in 1910 (after the big S.F. earthquake!) and you can just sense the history and footprint of it. I get a bit sentimental about my daughter (and now baby boy!) growing up in the house their grandparents and great grandparents did.
What are your rituals? Do you have any?
Adding positive rituals into my life has been one of the best things I’ve done for my growth and connection. When I wake up, (after I brush, tongue scrape, and oil pull!) one of the first things I do is have a warm glass of water to aid with digestion and to accompany me while I journal. Sometimes I will add lemon water or Juna’s chlorophyll tincture, but most of the time just warm to hot water. I try to write three pages a day. Sometimes it just flows, other times it’s tougher, but if I go a few days without doing this I start to feel stagnant and like my energy and thoughts aren’t moving as fluidly. We have so much information coming at us all the time, that sitting with your own thoughts before emails, social media, outside distractions, and what have you is important — I feel more in my body when I do this before anything else. I also try to pull a tarot card every other day and display it on my dresser as a reminder. Another ritual that I am so happy I found is breathwork. I started practicing regularly a few years ago, and I try to carve out time one to two times a week for it. I began practicing with On&On, an amazing well-being collective, and it’s become really instrumental in my journey. It sounds like a lot, but truly adding all of these rituals only takes like an hour of my day and it’s so worth it!
From the looks of your instagram stories it looks like you’ve mastered the skill of traveling well. Can you tell us about some of your favorite places you’ve been to? + how do you pick where you travel?
I love being outdoors! It’s actually one of the reasons why I love living in the Bay Area so much. When traveling, having an element of outdoor exploration is important to me — hikes, nature, wildlife. I am drawn toward the desert, as that’s where I grew up and a lot of my family still lives there. There is nothing as beautiful and grounding to me as a desert sunset — it can bring me to tears. I recently was in New Mexico to see family and visited Santa Fe (which I’ve been before, but I love going there!) and last summer we took a trip to Jackson Hole, during which we were outside 99.9 percent of the time, it was great. I imagine it will be a bit before we can travel again with a baby on the way, but I'm looking forward to exploring more when we can!