A Certain Romance

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FOREVER MOOD: New England, pressed trousers tucked into rain boots, stomping about the countryside, car rides down long thin roads, burnt coffee and buttered toast, hot skin after a bath, curly wet hair, knit sweaters with unravelling holes; a hot kitchen, freshly baked bread, the scent of orange peels, whiskey and roasted chicken; late night fires  

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READ: Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith and The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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I Can't Stop Thinking about Pete Davidson

image via  Complex

image via Complex

This post is inspired by The Cut's brilliant series: I Think About This A Lot. 

Until a month ago, I had never thought of Pete Davidson in my life. In fact, I didn't even know who the tattooed, goofy-faced comedian was. Then all of a sudden he was dating Ariana Grande, they were getting couple tattoos and I was watching 10 minute compilation videos of Pete Davidson's best moments. For some inexplicable reason, I've become super invested in Ariana and Pete's relationship--maybe because I'm a sucker for a whirlwind romance; maybe because there's a lack of love in my life; maybe I'm just really BORED. Whatever it was, I was reading every possible news item about the couple and screamed alongside the rest of the world when it was announced that they were engaged! And at Robert Pattinson's birthday party to top it all off! But more than the pair's romance, it was Pete Davidson himself that intrigued me the most. Who was this guy? I don't watch SNL so had no idea what "Pool Boy" was and I like to avoid stand up comedy as much as I avoid people I went to high school with, so it's not the funny thing (although he is genuinely funny). I'm not physically attracted to him, though over the past few weeks his large teeth and bug eyes have accrued a certain amount of charm. It might be his BIG DICK ENERGY which is apparently more than just an energy, or that I've read at least two gossip items about him everyday for the past few weeks and so thoughts of him have taken over my mind. What it actually is, is the fact that, despite his multiple tattoos and penchant for snapbacks, Pete Davidson comes off like the sweetest and happiest guy. He always seems genuinely psyched whether he's talking about being happy with Ariana Grande or how much he loves Robert Pattinson (me too Pete, me too). In a world of Zayns, where it's rare for anyone to be genuinely excited by anything, Pete's joy is infectious. I honestly can't wait to keep seeing him in movies and I hope that he stays in pop culture news, even if him and Ariana fade. OR maybe they'll get married. We'll see. 

TROIS CHOSES: I'll Be By the Batphone

TROIS CHOSES is a monthly roundup of three things (books, music, movies, etc.) that I particularly enjoyed or that stood out to me. Read April's here.

UN: The Gentlewoman (Spring&Summer 2018) 

The Gentlewoman is one of the magazines that has reinvigorated me both as a writer and as a consumer of culture. My sister and I happened to come upon their Spring&Summer 2018 issue in our local bookstore (which just started selling it) and, in our excitement, had to snatch it up. I didn't have plans for reading it through but that's what I ended up doing. What makes The Gentlewoman stand out is its predilection for following its curiosities and interests. Sure they cover "relevant" topics and individuals, but it's never in a way that feels like just another part of someone's press tour. I loved every interview in this issue, even if I had never heard of the person before, and was so inspired (& motivated) by their "Modern Details" that I've been writing itsy-bitsy devotionals to everything from apple pie to Weleda Skin Food. 

Deux: "Depression Takes My Body Away", Arabelle Sicardi for Racked

Being chronically ill taught me a while ago that bodies are full of surprises, that they are unreliable narrators of our dreams, and that something can be a failing, but it doesn’t mean you are.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our bodies speak for us in ways that we can’t control. How they give away a lot--like how the freshman 15 is tells a story of both immaturity and excessive indulgence. In this piece, Arabelle Sicardi talks about not feeling like they had much control over much--their body, their life, their feelings and impulses--but being able to push against that through fashion or, more specifically, personal style. I remember when I was the biggest Arabelle Sicardi fan so many years ago and how they would talk about fashion as armour. And that always resonated with me, but does so even more today. I’ve never felt less in control than I have in the past few months and despite my various attempts at organization and control--colour coded calendars, to-do lists, daily journal entries--I rarely feel in control. Clothes have not only made me feel more in control, but they have been a way to build a fortress around myself. One that allows me to move in the world and feel protected. This article helped me realize that in a way that all that other stuff--the podcasts, the online guides, the self-help books--didn't. 

Trois: Yoga with Adriene

Last summer, in an effort to lose the Freshman 30+, I chose to complete a 60 day detox--no gluten, no dairy, no alcohol--and started Kayla Itsines BBG program. When I first started, I just wanted to lose some weight. I didn't want to become consumed with being a toned, slim Instagram model; I just wanted to fit in my new clothes. Unfortunately, I was soon saving pictures of toned and tight bellies on Instagram and taking daily images of my changing body. I'd convinced myself that I was in a healthy state of mind, but in some ways I was obsessive, and at times punishing. I relished in those days when I felt hungry but stopped myself from eating outside of the allotted amounts of food I had determined. And after the 60 days where over, very few of the habits I had developed stuck--I went back to my usual bread eating, chocolate enjoying self. When this summer came around, I wasn't interested in getting into the gym or going on another restrictive diet (although I did muse over Whole30 until I found out you couldn't eat rice). But I did want to be active and commit to something, so I turned to yoga. I chose Yoga with Adriene because I had seen Estée Lalonde doing the videos on her Instagram, and the fact that the videos were (on avergae) only 25 minutes. I’ve had *experiences* with yoga before--I still have a yoga pass that I never finished using--but it’s never made me feel as good as doing Yoga with Adriene has. I’m currently doing “True: 30 Day Yoga Challenge” and it’s definitely changed things for me. I try and do a video every morning, and it really sets the tone for my day. Adriene is all about throwing away the idea of doing yoga to become trimmed and toned (she says it will happen), and instead focusing on certain themes + non-physical goals. Themes like SURRENDER and SELF-LOVE allow me to use the time on the mat to mediate, or just take a moment to breath. Since I've started, I've noticed how completing a practice every morning makes me feel productive and accomplished. Adriene herself is a little kooky--she makes the most random jokes--but her kookiness is what makes doing her practice so comfortable. There is no pressure to be a perfect yogi, or the most fit person ever. She reminds me that I can just have fun. Maybe at the end of it all I'll have more toned arms, but that's not the goal. 

Hokey Cokey with the Opposite Sex

THE VIDEO FOR “FOUR OUT OF FIVE”

Like any Arctic Monkeys fan, the announcement of the band’s latest and freshest album couldn’t have come soon enough. It’s been five years since AM, the album that made them so popular that you couldn’t visit an Aritizia without hearing a song from it, and I was jonesing for something new. I didn't know what to expect--I knew I wanted something different from AM, which felt a little too much like pop--but I was so pleasantly amused by the title, Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino that as soon as it popped up on my Spotify on the day of its release, I listened to it, despite the fact that I had been just about to go to sleep.

Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino has been both a surprise and a comfort. Upon first listen, I didn’t feel the same excitement that I’ve felt for other long-awaited music releases, (like Lorde’s Melodrama) but I didn’t completely dismiss it either. And although I couldn’t say that I loved it just yet, I found myself constantly putting it on, curious to discover all the creases and pockets of it all. It wasn’t until I listened to it with headphones, actually listened to it, not just played it in the background, that I began to connect with it. I think what had kept me curious was that, especially lyrically, the music felt like a throwback to their early music. I feel like Alex Turner's penchant for slightly kooky yet smart lyrics that could easily fit into a short story collection was a major part of why I ever fell in love with the band in the first place. A bit of that kookiness was lost with AM, made a brief appearance on The Last Shadow Puppet's most recent album (I still love the lyric: "It's love like a tongue in the nostril"), and has exploded on Tranquility Base. I can’t help but think about the poignancy of lyrics like “I launch my fragrance called “Integrity”/I sell the fact that I can’t be bought” (Batphone) and “The leader of the free world/Reminds you of a wrestler wearing tight golden trunks” (Golden Trunks), or one of my favourites: "Love came in a bottle with a twist-off cap" (Star Treatment).

There's been a lot of chat about how much this album, more than any others, has a really strong narrative. Alex Turner told Zane Lowe that he sees it to be like a collection of short stories. And the world that's built throughout the record is very clear and defined, that I feel like I'm a part of it. But apart from it's narrative brilliance, this album also feels like a very poignant commentary on the state of our world today. While not overtly political, it's hard to miss the concern about the way the world has changed, and the way it continues to change. The futuristic theme of the album feels like a sort of warning--we can look to the future all we want but it doesn't really change anything that's going on right now. Listening to the songs on tis album, I can't help but think about consumerism and gentrification, what it means to sell-out, and what the future of our world actually looks like. It makes me think about what it would mean to throw away our smartphones, and if any of us actually want to do it or if it feels good and smart to say it. Just like it used to feel good and smart to say that we would never be sell-outs.

Tranquility Base is the kind of album that you can't help but think about all the time, the kind of album that you're constantly making discoveries about. It makes a mark, one that can’t be easily washed off. It this amazing combination of art and storytelling and social commentary. It's the perfect "comeback album", and despite my initial reservations, I can confidently say: I love it. 

INFLUENCE: TAVI GEVINSON

I, like most people, first heard of Tavi Gevinson from reading her profile in the New Yorker. At the time, I was 12 years old and was intrigued by this person that I could have gone to school with, but who was so different from me that I definitely wouldn't have spoken to if we did. But a few months later I found myself scrolling Style Rookie, her now infamous blog, almost daily and not really understanding why. My family had recently moved from our small town in Southwest Virginia to an even smaller town on the island of Trinidad, and I was going through a major identity crisis. Away from my friends and the sticky politics of middle school friendships, it didn't really matter if anyone knew that I was into listening to musicals or Jimi Hendrix. I started to create a world for myself--one that protected and comforted me in a way nothing else did. Tavi and Style Rookie were a big part of that. 

Because of Tavi's work and presence, I discovered beauty in a lot of unexpected things and began to tell stories based on combined visual elements. I learnt about designers, music, art and films that I'd never heard of, and learnt to explore and love art without embarrassment. And when she started Rookie things were even better. She was able to create a community that has been long lasting and that I connected to so many people through. 

I think it's easy to be jealous of Tavi, or compare myself to her, especially being in her age group. But when I think about it, I'm so appreciative of the path that she's carved for young creatives, the spaces she's made possible. As she's grown in the spotlight, she's continued to be honest and open, and I still love learning about new things because of something she shares on Instagram or in her extremely insightful Editor Letters for Rookie. Sure, it's easy to be jealous of her, but it feels so much better to be inspired by her. 

I Want To Be A Part of It

Here's the second part of my New York diary! I realize while editing my 100s of pics, that I started taking less pictures as the week went on and I got more tired and was trying to focus on just like experiencing things. But I did get some good pics and I had a lot of fun. 

Saturday

Saturday was a really weird day. We left the house a little later than usual, but I had been awake forever and felt really out of it. We didn't really have buying appointments on this day because we went to Capsule and ManxWoman which are pretty big "trade" shows. I definitely preferred visiting smaller showrooms that were more intimate over the trade shows. I did spot Rachel Antonoff at Capsule though, which literally made my day!

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We were meant to go to Jack's Wife Freda for brunch, not realizing that NY brunch lines are HELLA LONG. It was an hour and half wait, in the rain, so we went searching for other options. We ended up at The Egg Shop which I honestly think was meant to be because the food was amazing and I fell in love with cold brew there, so it was a win-win. 

A Day in Brooklyn〰Sunday

Sunday was pretty great, and definitely one of the highlights of my trip. I met up with my best friend from middle school and we headed to the Brooklyn Museum to see their small Basquiat exhibition. And we were in Brooklyn! It was great, even though the neighbourhood wasn't super vibing on a sleepy Sunday but I felt so comfortable and so excited, it was great!

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I was definitely a tourist at Grand Central because GOSSIP GIRL PEOPLE!

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The Brooklyn Museum was honestly a treasure! From Judy Chicago's Dinner Party to their singular Basquiat painting, the exhibitions felt really unique and inspiring. I'd have to say that my favourite exhibition was Infinite Blue which took up most of the first floor and focused on all these variations of blue. There were cool installations, like this weird underwater video that I wanted to watch forever. And its open all year, so people can still experience its magic. 

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We had brunch at Shane's, which I'm pretty sure is a black-owned restaurant which was really exciting for me. There's not a lot of unique, special black spaces in my current city, and so there was something really comforting being surrounded by black people who were just enjoying their Sunday brunch. I had their chicken and waffles, which was tasty and homey.

We spent the rest of the day just hanging around uptown--going to Barnes and Nobles and brainstorming in a Starbucks. It was just a nice, quiet day--a dream Sunday tbh.  

Monday

Monday was our last official day, and we didn't really have too many appointments, which gave us a chance to explore. Honestly, we went to some of the best places this day, including Coming Soon NYC and Totokaelo. This was the day that I felt the most like I belonged in New York, and not like I was just floating around with my eyes wide at everything. It was pretty great. 

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Combine des Filles

Combine des Filles

COMING SOON NYC

COMING SOON NYC

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TOTOKAELO

TOTOKAELO

Once we were done with appointments we went to Ruby's Cafe, which is Australian cuisine and was really cozy. Even better, as we were finishing up I saw that FREAKING SUBRINA HEYNIK WAS THERE! I love her vintage store and her Instagram even more, not just for her aesthetics but also because of how much she speaks to what she believes in and never excuses herself from talking about important issues. I said hello to her as we were leaving, we hugged and we both almost cried. It was honestly one of the best ways to end the trip.

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I finally got to visit the Glossier Showroom which has been my dream since they first launched. To be honest, as beautiful as it was, the experience wasn't as special or exciting as I had built it up to be in my mind. Probably because it was a dreary Monday afternoon, and there wasn't much going on. I was too distracted to really try a lot of different products as well so there was that. Overall, I am glad I got a chance to go. 

STREET STYLE

STREET STYLE

We spent the rest of our evening at some weird Amazon summer event, where I got pretty drunk, danced to some major bops and got really nostalgic about leaving the next day. 

Even months later, I still think about this trip often and how it confirmed that my dreams could be a reality. I'd wanted to go to New York for so long and I really built it up in my brain, and I was afraid it would disappoint. However, I felt so comfortable there and leaving was especially hard. But I'm definitely going back! 

It's All About the Hands

When it comes to matters of the hands, specifically taking care of my hands, I'm no expert. I know what I like and why I like it, and that's about it. I've always loved doing my nails, although when I was younger I was pretty sloppy about it. I would let my nail polish chip away, loving the strange shapes left over. But after my crush called me out for my messy nails (I KNOW!), I definitely became more self conscious about it. Recently, I've been really into taking care of my hands and my nails for a few reasons. The first is that I fell in love with Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, which is the best hand cream I've ever used. It's thick but not greasy, gives you major moisture with only minor slippage. I can put it on in the morning and not reapply for the rest of the day if I'm not washing my hands a lot. The second reason is that I love Yana Sheptovetskaya (@gelcream) and the articles she does for Into the Gloss all about nail polishes and nail care. She's also responsible for my third reason for loving all things hands right now, and that's J. Hannah nail polishes. They're like the It Girl of nail polishes and really easy to apply. Ever since I started using them, I sometimes hold up my hands in the air to admire how beautiful they are. And when I'm ready to try a new colour, I just dip my fingers into Sally Hansen's Kwik Off. It's a sponge soaked in gentle nail polish remover and gets rid of nail polish in less than five minutes. When everything is quick and easy, messy nails aren't even an option. 

ADDICTED: COLD BREW

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Cold brew is one of those hyped up things that I took my sweet time paying attention to. When I worked at Starbucks, I remember everyone getting really excited for cold brew season but hating it from the very first sip. And I especially hated it because all the people who ordered it were usually really pretentious. But now I'm the pretentious,only-drinks-cold-brew person and I'm fine with it. It all started with my trip to The Egg Shop when I was in New York. It was late on a Saturday, I was tired and we still had appointments to go to. I just needed something to revitalize me. So I ordered an iced coffee, and was instead presented with a cold brew that was so good from the first gulp I couldn't stop talking about for the rest of the day. I spent the last few days of the trip trawling the fridges at Whole Foods looking for the best bottles and cans, and drank cold brew basically every day. 

When I got back home, I couldn't find cold brew anywhere (it was still winter) and the options at my grocery store didn't look great. But now the sun is out, cafés are serving cold brew with abandon, and I'm guzzling down a glass a day. It's probably the only thing that keeps me functioning past noon. To save on costs, I've been purchasing a random one from my local grocery store, but it just doesn't compare to any I had in New York. For now, I'll make do. But I'm still on the hunt. 

AT HOME W/ HANNAH (NEW CLASSICS)

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At Home W/ Hannah Editorial for New Classics. Showcasing New Classics sustainable and ethically made intimates. Featuring Pansy, Baserange, and Suzanne Rae

MODEL: Hannah Schmidts
PHOTOGRAPHY: Darleen Masakhwe
STYLING: Darleen Masakhwe and Akosua Adasi
CREATIVE DIRECTION: Akosua Adasi
WORDS: Akosua Adasi

Start Spreading the News

I've wanted to go  to New York ever since I was 11 years old and dreamed of being a writer and dating a Dan Humphrey type. The trip was made the more better because I went with the New Classics team and got to visit a lot of cool showrooms and get a firsthand look into what buyers do and a real behind the scenes look into the fashion industry.

I had the best experience in New York. Every moment there was something new and I've never really felt so comfortable in a place. I adapted pretty quickly; the first day I could barely stand up on the subway and by the end of the trip, I was navigating the system like a young pro. 

Arrival

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We arrived at LaGuardia just around sunset which made everything feel romantic and as if it was destined. We headed into the city, went to pick up the keys for our AirBNB, dropped our stuff off and headed to Brooklyn. We'd all ordered a few things to a friend's place there, so we went to grab dinner and then get our hands on our purchases!! I'm not sure where we had dinner but it was a really random place, and the food wasn't all that good. 

Wednesday

We dove into appointments right away, but not before making a morning stop at Cha Cha Matcha. I see the cafe on Instagram all the time and wanted to discover the hype and tbqh, it's the real deal. From the aesthetics to the product, it's all pretty amazing. AND it's easy to pretend that you're just taking a break from working at one of the very cool places around the neighbourhood.

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Maryam Nassir Zadeh Showroom 

After appointments with Suzanne Rae and Lauren Manoogian, we headed to Vanessa’s Dumpling House for a quick little lunch. It was pretty busy and we ended up sharing a table with a random guy. The food we had was good but I don't think I would go back, or I would go at a less busy time and order a lot more stuff. If you're in a rush though, definitely get their fried dumplings. Delicious!

Before we headed to our next showroom, me and Darleen got our auras taken at Crystal Magic in Chinatown which was honestly a beautiful experience. It just solidified a lot for me and I treasure it a lot. I wish I lived in New York because I would go like once a month if I could. 

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Delfina Balda

Delfina Balda

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After a long and fast-paced first day we headed back to our AirBNB, making a stop for dinner at Lucien. I was desperate to try their signature cocktails but unfortunately I'm still a year underage. I didn't take too many pictures there because the lighting wasn't great and our table got into a pretty heated conversation so I got quickly distracted. But the food + atmosphere was amazing. 

Thursday

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One of my highlights of Thursday was getting to visit Mulberry Iconic Magazines which I swear had every mag title I had ever heard of and more. I had to show some restraint, as it was the beginning of the trip, but you can bet I got my hands on some fantastic titles--including the Timothée Chalamet issue of V-MAN. 

Thursday was even more hectic than Wednesday, as we went from appointment to appointment. We scarfed down lunch at Ivan Ramen in between two showrooms. I'm not like a major ramen fan by all means, but it was good although a bit salty. The best part of our appointments on Thursday? Getting to meet Yana of @gelcream (which I'm a big fan of) and Valerie Quant of LoQ, who also happens to be a good friend of Rachel Nguyen. 

Once all of our appointments were down, we stopped at a Van Leeuwen's for a treat, and I had THE BEST (vegan) ice-cream I have ever had. We had dinner at Westville, where I realized how much I loved burgers because that was all I wanted.

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Friday

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Friday was a bit of a weird day because we didn't really do much and I felt so tired my whole body was locked up. It was that feeling when you go, go, go and all of a sudden you stop and your body is like *shutdown*. Friday was our day to fully explore but we had a business lunch at Macy's Stella 34 Trattoria, and that ended up being longer than expected but was a very educational experience. 

After lunch we head to The Met, which I could not hold in my excitement about. We walked through Central Park to get there and I couldn't help but feel Blair Waldorf/Dorota vibes as we did. And then of course, THE MET which is just as amazing and beautiful a you would expect. Since we didn't really have the whole day to explore, I focused on seeing the temporary exhibitions I wanted to see, specifically the David Hockney one and the William Eggleston one. 

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    Our last stop of the evening was at The Strand which has been like a dream for me for so long. And it was honestly the most revitalizing experience. I love bookstores and so there was nothing better than trolling through this iconic spot. Definitely one of the best parts of the whole trip. We didn't do much for dinner--the hot bar at Whole Foods = everything--and I just laid on the couch and watched Gossip Girl. A perfect end to the week. 

    The first few days were pretty jam-packed but it pretty much slowed down from then on. The rest of the diary is coming next week, so keep an eye out for that!

    Glossy Posse

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    My love for magazines came from my older sister. When we were younger, we shared a room and so I was obsessed with flipping through the stacks and stacks of fashion magazines that she would get, even when I wasn't interested in fashion yet. As time went on, and I fell in love with fashion, I started to love magazines for myself. From the New Yorker to Teen Vogue they soon became something more than collage materials. These days, my sister and I share a pretty large collection of magazines, but I have a small collection that I've purchased for myself that I'll take with me when we no longer live together. Magazines have always been a source of inspiration for me, whether it's a really great piece about a little white dress and Italy in the 80s or a visually stimulating spread. 

    The Gentlewoman

    The Gentlewoman

    So It Goes

    So It Goes

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    I've been pretty unimpressed with a lot of my favourites so I've been turning to older issues as well as exploring new titles. So It Goes has by far been my favourite, but I've read some men's magazines that I've been quite impressed with. I definitely was really inspired by Timothée Chalamet's cover story for V-Man--all aspects, from the visual to the interviews, were amazingly done and captured that unnameable something that's so special about him.

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    It feels weird to have so much love and faith in magazines as more and more magazines fold and start to focus on digital. And I completely get that there is more money in digital because it's the future and that's what people are into but I also think that creating digital content has made a lot of big name magazines lazy; editorials and essays are uninspiring and are focused more on influencer clout instead of producing great content. I think that's why I love independent mags right now--they're doing their own thing and being true to their voice, even if that voice is constantly changing or has different tones. 

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    PRE BY NEW CLASSICS: ANDREA

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    I shot some photos for @prebynewclassics early in April and these are some of my favourites. I didn't really want to share these because I was having a lot of creative insecurity and was filled with a lot of fear and self-judgement. I'm still working on not being precious and being confident in my work, so here it is! Also, it's probably a good idea to have this stuff just for growth purposes so there's that!

    MODEL: Andrea Montes
    STYLING + CREATIVE DIRECTION: Moi!

    TROIS CHOSES: APRIL

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    Trois Choses is a monthly series highlighting three things I consumed each month that excited me or had an impact. 

    UN: Jane the Virgin

    I started watching Jane the Virgin after my friend, Sara, recommended it to me because we were talking about how I felt so stuck as a writer and that I was currently looking for a mentor and felt like I had little to offer. And Jane is a writer too. I had already been recommended the show a few times but never felt inclined to actually give it a try. At that point, everything felt really dull, my senses felt non-existent and I really needed to watch something that was fun and light-hearted, especially since the last thing I watched was  the very cold, very dark Fargo. SO I started watching and I fell in love. It’s almost embarrassing to admit this but I watched all four seasons this whole entire month. I fell in love with (almost) all the characters and was so invested. And it was also encouraging to me as a writer. I wouldn’t say it inspired me but it’s depiction of the writer’s journey and the ups and downs was very comforting in that I was reminded that there is no straight or easy way to being a writer. And one reminder that Jane always got was to BE BRAVE, which has accidentally become on of my affirmations for the rest of the year. An added bonus: Tyler Posey is in the 4th season and I literally grinned through every episode.

    Deux: Startup, Season 2

    I’ll basically read or watch (or listen to!) anything about starting a business, but often times the material can be more discouraging than encouraging. It focuses on mostly the positives and the ways in which the people who start businesses were built for it, whether they were selling lemonade at 6 or working at Subway and knowing that wasn't their path. Even their challenges felt overly positive and I found it hard to relate to that. That’s what makes Startup so special. Their goal is to give a direct look into the creation of business, the ups and downs, as they're happening. Sometimes it's cringey and uncomfortable, but ultimately it's really encouraging to see people have worries and concerns that I get because it makes me feel less alone, less of an anomaly. Even if starting a business is the last thing on your mind, it’s still a really good listen for anyone that has to work with other people. Season 2 is especially good because compared to Season 1, the drama and the struggle that come with starting a business with other people was off the charts. Season 2 followed Dating Ring, a matchmaking/dating service founded by Lauren Kay and Emma Tessler. It follows the duo through a positive start, losing a teammate and major fights. My favourite episode was the one where they go to visit the CEO Whisperer, which was such an enlightening thing to listen to. At the time of listening I was definitely feeling conflict in my working life, and this season gave me a lot of perspective on what I was dealing with.

    Trois: "Every Goodbye Ain't Gone" by James Baldwin

    "You drag your past with you everywhere, or it drags you."

    This is one of those essays that I ended up reading by accident, but turned out to be exactly perfect for the moment. I feel like this whole month was full of happy accidents. So far 2018 has been pretty tumultuous for me and when I thought I was getting pretty settled in April, everything went topsy-turvy again. And this essay felt like such a comfort. A good essay for me has always been about finding a connection, not feeling alone in the world. And this essay was that and also explored that feeling. That moment when you can recognize that you're not alone, that you can explore and break away from you've known and still find your way back, or find the way to where you're supposed to be. 

    Influence: Rachel Nguyen

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    I love Rachel Nguyen. I swear, I'm always talking about how much she inspires me and I've probably watched every one of her videos four or more times. I couldn't pinpoint exactly what it is about her that has turned me into the fangirl of the century, but there are a few things about her that I really love. 

    What I love about Rachel's YouTube channel is that she puts a lot of effort into it, and it shows. Her videos stand out from the MASS of channels and videos out there, and she makes the everyday feel really exciting. Her video style is inimitable and I've never seen anyone perfectly replicate what she does. She's always trying new things, and although she always keeps her audience in mind, it's clear that she's making things for herself.

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    IMAGES SOURCED FROM THATSCHIC.NET

    The Days of Abandonment

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    I'm not sure when I decided that I had to read an Elena Ferrante novel. I had been clued into the hype for a long time--EVERYBODY recommended her My Brilliant Friend series, but I didn't find myself falling for the hype. It was just another thing people loved to talk about just to talk about, like avocado toast or Snapchat filters. But then, Gabby Noone,nail polish influencer and my idol, mentioned that she had just finished the first book in the MBF series and all of a sudden I was like, all over that shit. I decided to read a book outside of the series, just incase I didn't love it and then I wouldn't feel obligated to finish the series. I grabbed Days of Abandonment when I went to the Strand (!!) which gives it an extra element of specialness.

    The book took me longer to finish than expected; it's barely 200 pages but is so intense, the emotion so tangible that I had to take a break from it for a few days. The book is about a woman named Olga, whose husband one day declares that he's leaving her and is gone so quickly, I could barely close my mouth from the shock. The abandonment completely overtakes Olga and she is submerged in a haze of feelings she can't comprehend. She becomes disconnected from her body, her life, her children. and as she seeks to understand her husband's choices and her future without him, she falls deeper and deeper into abandonment. 

    One of the most difficult parts of reading the book was that Olga's feelings were so intense, so raw, that the more she descended into abandonment, the more I felt as if I was losing grip with myself. There were moments when I want to grab Olga and shake her and scream at her; I felt like doing the same to myself. Ferrante writes as if she is laying everything bare and it's rare to experience such emotion in words. When I read the last page of Days of Abandonment I felt exhausted--like I'd been caught in some rapids and barely made it. That's how books should make you feel, isn't it?

    THE CHALLENGE

    Artwork by  Jasjyot Singh Hans

    I haven't written in almost a month. Scratch that. I haven't written anything that I'm remotely proud of in a month, maybe even longer. I sort of abandoned this blog for a few weeks in my attempt to conserve energy and I wrote a few things for uni that made me want to smack my head against my keyboard in a dangerous way. On top of that I hated everything I wrote. It all sounded stupid and fake and NOT LIKE ME AT ALL. Even writing this post feels a little bit excruciating because I'm not sure exactly what it is I want to say, even though I've been sitting with it in the back of my mind for four days now. Whenever it comes to these moments, when I feel like I'll never really write anything again, I can't help letting my insecurities take over. I just start to think about alternative career paths, about doing a job that lets me write but that doesn't give me as much anxiety as sitting down to creatively write does. To put it simply: I feel like quitting. But I promised myself that I would stop quitting when things got scary so here I am trying to push through. But I feel blank. I feel devoid of the passion and the excitement that I felt a few months ago when all of this was just a scary endeavour I was exploring in my journal. I have all the prescriptions--morning journal pages, inspiring quotes, readings--and yet I still find myself just typing words without any connection to themselves. I want to be a writer, but I don't feel like a writer. I don't feel like I could ever be a writer. And I know part of that comes with putting pressure on myself to be a certain type of writer, but still...

    I don't want to publish this, but I'm going to. For full disclosure. As a reminder to myself. I wanted this week to be the week that I threw myself back into working on this blog and being creative, but I don't know where I am. And I need to figure that out. I'm going to take this week to do it. Let it be a sort of vacation of sorts. I want to read a lot. Keep my computer out of my bed. Watch 50% of the movies on my Netflix list. Take time for myself. I don't know if it's the perfect antidote, but it's a beginning. 

    I Just Wanna Make Money and Do Dope Shit

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    March didn't get off to a great start. The underwater feeling I had felt through most of February still lingered in the first weeks of March. Paired with New York withdrawal symptoms and getting sick, I spent a lot of march feeling worthless and gross. And then school. It's so boring to complain about how shit school can be AND YET! I'm just trying to stay positive but sometimes I find it hard to fight the part of me that just wants to watch Fargo all the time and take 101 baths. However, the past couple of weeks have been a lot better. I'm working to let some things go, vent when I want to (even if it seems petty), and just gripping onto every moment of joy. The other day, I spent the morning listening to the Hairspray soundtrack and dancing my little ass off. I felt amazing pretty much all day. I'm seeing friends and accepting that sometimes I need people to re-energize. That's ok. I'm excited about it. It means I get to go see Ladybird and then obsess about it with other people in real time. 

    Reading

    I found myself reading a lot more this month--apart from taking a break from Instagram, I knew that reading for fun had been so beneficial for my mental health in the past couple of months, so I made a conscious effort to do it. That meant sacrificing readings I had to do for class (sorry Ann Radcliffe) but I read some amazing things. My two favourite books I read this month were The Mothers by Brit Bennett and Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine. Out of all four and a half books I read, they're the two that I was immediately captured by and they're the ones that I devoured the fastest. Both authors have their own unique way of capturing humanity--it's intimacies, its let downs, its mistakes, its richness. 

    Because home isn’t really an actual place, but an idea about that place, and how that idea animates you. Even that white house I’m eulogizing doesn’t exist, except as mythology.
    — Mitchell Kuga

    I'm always concerned with the difficulty of defining home, especially when the only place I've lived long enough to call home is the last place that I feel 100% at home. So I loved Mitchell Kuga's brilliant piece for Shondaland called "Coming Home", in which he talks about the way we perceive home and the myths we create about it.While Kuga ended up finding home in NYC, this piece reminded me that home doesn't have to be a physical location; it can be a state-of-mind. 

    Ashley C. Ford has managed to touch a special place in my heart and so everytime I read something she wrote, whether it be a tweet or something longer, I'm deeply moved. She recently wrote a piece for Cup of Joabout maintaining your relationship with your parents when your live your life in a way that's drastically different from theirs. My favourite part is this reassuring text she sent to her friend who was worrying that she wasn't properly preparing her son for the life ahead of him: "You don’t have to be the best middle-class mother to your middle-class children. You only have to be their truest home. Maybe they’ll experience the world much differently than you did, but they will always know where home is.”

    I Think About This A Lot: Mark Cuban Saying 'Right' on Shark Tank. There's a girl in my political science class who ends so many of her sentences in "right" I can't help but twitch every time she says it. And although I've never seen Shark Tank there was something very satisfying about this piece from The Cut.

    Watching

    On My Block (Netflix)
    In a move that was detrimental to both my school work and my plan to read more often, I started watching On My Block and maybe finished the whole series in 24 hours (I definitely did). The show is so funny and the characters are all lovable, even the one called Spooky. Clear your schedule for this one--you won't want to stop watching.

    Listening

    Black Girl in Om
    I listen to podcasts based on mood, which means I'm always on the lookout for something new that will match my ever changing mood. I started listening to BGIO at the recommendation of my sister, after having one too many crises about work and THE FUTURE. Start with their most recent interview with Yaminah Mayo and then head to Season One to experience the full magic.

    I'm not sure why I fell in love with this song but there were days I listened to it about three times and never got sick of it, so obviously it's the bop that we all need.

    What were you loving this month? Is there anything you detested?

    Read more monthly favourites here

     

    It's Not That Deep

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    I think of all my monthly playlists, this one's playlist has been the one that has truly captured how I felt throughout the month. It's actually hard to listen to the songs that I added at the start of the month because I feel so different now. I went from feeling moody as fuck, listening to Frank Ocean and the Shangri-Las all the time and feeling weary about life to listening to "New Slaves" several times a day and just being like FUCK YOU AND YOUR HAMPTON HOUSE. I never really have a grand motive for making monthly playlists, but this month I realized how well they come to capture my mood every month. They've accidentally become as much of an outlet as my journal is. Every playlist I've made feels like a reminder of who I used to be, how I've grown and who I'll always be. 

    Breaking Up with Instagram (Kind of)

    Two weeks ago, after listening to a podcast with Tavi Gevinson, I immediately logged out of my Instagram. This felt like a fairly radical act because like most people my age, I’m addicted to Instagram. But, just like a lot of people, it was starting to drag me down. I noticed that I was spending an insane amount of time on it, using it as a source of inspiration but not actually making anything. I was starting to feel every negative emotion that has been associated with Instagram use--jealousy, incompetency, hopelessness. But at the same time, Instagram also made me feel good and feel connected. My city can sometimes feel like the most suffocating small town ever, so when I needed to be reminded that there was something much bigger than what I was feeling, Instagram was a great reminder that there were people out there making the art I wanted to see, talking about the things I wanted to talk about, etc. I'm sure there's a study about how that's actually a negative effect but I don't care. Instagram made me feel good. Until it didn't. I needed to take a break. Pretty much all the testimonials from social media detoxes are extremely positive: "I read more! I actually read the news! I felt whole!". I had a lot of expectations.

    The Beginning...

    At first I just wanted to see how long I could spend logged out before I broke down and went back to my scrolling ways. I was further challenged--I couldn't just delete the app from my phone (out of sight, out of mind) because I had to keep maintaining an Instagram account for my internship. Thankfully, the account doesn't follow anyone but our company, so I was less tempted to scroll through Stories. The first few days were hard. I realized how bad my addiction was when I would pick up my phone, open the app and scroll, JUST FOR THE SATISFACTION. That was straight up scary. When I realized that, I knew I had to take a full on break. I deleted the app from my phone. That lasted about three days before I downloaded it again because I had to post a picture for a lil' opportunity I had with Lil' Shop Vintage. Then I deleted it again. The app is back on my phone because of my internship, but I've been two weeks without regular Instagram activity, which for me is MAJOR. I'm no longer spending 20 mins of my waking moments desperately scrolling through last night's InstaStories.

    What I Learnt

    I had hoped that after a while, I would be like, WHATEVER I’M OVER INSTAGRAM, I'M FREE OF SOCIETAL CONSTRAINTS! I also had half hoped that I would be able to call bullshit on social media detoxes and go back to my endless scrolling and refreshing without any feelings of guilt. But neither of those things happened. I ended up somewhere squarely in the middle. Being logged out of Instagram has been great--I've been able to concentrate when I'm working, I have been able to read more, and I've had less time to compare myself to other people, instead using that energy to gas myself up. At the same time, I miss some of the accounts that I follow and I find myself looking for photos or quotes I had saved on Instagram. 

    I don't think Instagram is a wholly bad thing (feel free to disagree) but I do think that I would benefit from a lot more time off of it. My internship will soon come to a close and it won't be necessary for me to have the app on my phone anymore. There's a project that I want to work on this summer, and I want to see what I'm capable of without Instagram. Who knows what will happen but I'm willing to give it a try. I know now that I'm not powerless against social media. And that's really the lesson I needed to learn.