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
WORDS: Akosua Adasi

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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. 



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. 


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.


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. 

Delfina Balda

Delfina Balda


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. 



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.




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. 


    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


    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


    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.


    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. 




    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



    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


    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.



    The Days of Abandonment


    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?


    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


    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. 


    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.


    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.


    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


    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.



    Sweater: I Am That Shop Pants: Lil Shop Vintage Shoes: Doc Martens


    If Jaden Smith can call himself an icon, why can't I? I'm happy that the weather is getting nicer, even though it means I'll have to shave my legs soon. I love this weird winter spring transition because there's enough nip in the air for me to pretend I'm living some New England collegiate town dream, but also warm enough that I can start walking home again.

    I'm feeling so energized right now because I feel like I'm leaning more into my 2018 goals. I got off track there for a moment, and I think it was because I wasn't checking in with myself as frequently as I wanted to. Instead I was burrowing down, and the next thing I knew I was sitting in a small, dark hole. At least that's what it felt like. I'm glad that school is going to be over soon though--I've had enough of tiny cramped desks for a while.

    She Way Out


    Coat and Pants: The Frankie Shop Scarf: Aritzia

    Ten minutes before this picture was taken, the zipper on my pants broke but the outfit was too good to change. It wasn't too much of an issue because the coat was long and it wasn't a warm day but... These are the magical pants that I got at The Frankie Shop in Paris and I ordered the coat to a friend's house in New York so it was ready for me as soon as I arrived. I love the slight tonal difference between the two pinks--I think it makes the outfit a bit more interesting than a typical monochrome look. 


    Photos taken by Darleen

    Little Miss Sunshine

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    Coat: @shop_magandapa Dress: Aritzia Leggings: Lululemon Shoes: Nike Jewelry: Wolf Circus

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    I bought this coat from Maganda Pa a few months ago when I was deep in an Instagram shopping hole but I wore it for the first time only a few weeks ago. I've thought about wearing it a few times but I was nervous that it was too bold and I would stand out too much. I love color but often refrain from wearing too much of it. Although I've recently realized that wearing color makes me feel comfortable and confident, so I'm invested in inserting more of it into my wardrobe.

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    I wore this outfit to school which was a pretty big deal for me because I mostly like to blend into the background when it comes to campus life. Surprisingly, once I got to campus I was filled with more confidence than nervosity. 

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    Earrings: Open House Projects
    I've been wanting these earrings for a while but couldn't bring myself to make the purchase. I borrowed them from New Classics for these photos but now I'm definitely ready to get a pair of my own. Too bad I'm on a shopping ban...

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    Photos were taken by (my wonderful boss) Alyssa Lau 

    Love is a 1000 Piece Puzzle


    I've never been in (romantic) love before but like any optimistic heroine in a Katherine Heigl-style romantic comedy, I am lovesick. I am intrigued by love--it's complexities, it's vulnerabilities, it's enigmatic nature. No matter what I learn about love, I still don't have it figured out. But after reading Rookie on Love, the newest book to come out of the RookieMag universe, I felt more excited about love than I had in a long time. What the book does particularly well is immediately establish that there is no one story about love. While that seems fairly obvious, it can be hard to believe when every movie about love (even the "indie" ones) follows the same formula and pattern, and rarely captures the nuance of the emotion. The writers in Rookie on Love are a diverse group of people with different experiences of love so the lessons that come out of their experience are varied. Because of this, I felt like I was being guided by 20+ older siblings all armed with a beautiful and relevant lesson to teach me. This is the magic of the book: it is both a guide and companion--it made me feel understood and cared for in a moment when I felt like pain was just pain, and life was hopeless. Essays like Danielle Henderson's "You First" reminded me of the importance of saying yes to myself (and my future and my happiness) as an act of self-love. In Gabourey Sidibe’s insightful and hilarious essay “Karma”, she writes about making mistakes in love and finding love that you deserve. The book is not about figuring out a definitive statement about love--it's about saying "I'm figuring it out" and being ok with that.

    Loewe Fall 2018

    Before my 20th birthday, I began to muse on what I wanted 20 to feel like. One of the things I was especially committed to was giving my wardrobe a bit of a revamp. Like most teens, the ages of 13-19 were a time of style exploration. I went from sweet and sunny (wannabe) Hollister model to 90s throwback queen to monochromatic minimalism vis-a-vis Oak and Fort. By the time I was in university, I was exhausted and just wanted to wear jeans and a t-shirt! But I'm tired of all that. I want to wear things that express who I am and what I feel--no matter how nebulous that is. I want clothes that enable my intense desire for comfort and still make me feel exceptionally sexy. Enter Loewe's collection for Fall 2018. Disclaimer: It's been a long time since I've been excited by an ENTIRE collection, so when I say that Loewe is a game changer you know that's MAJAH! What stood out to me the most was the use of leather--from the oversized coats to the minute detailing on dresses. This season has seen a lot of leather looks that are channeling the Matrix or some other 80s futuristic reference so Jonathan Anderson's different take was refreshing. The collection was bold and elegant, and looked like it was made for women not mannequins. That's not an easy thing to do but Anderson makes it look effortless.


    All images via Vogue Runway

    February Faves

    February was a sort of difficult for me--I felt really untethered and lost, and desperately wanted to drop everything in my life and lay in a bed made of pizza. In an effort to break through the fog, I focused on evaluating what I wanted and how I was going to get it. I had to reevaluate all the things I’ve come to accept as unchangeable. In addition to the conversations I had with myself, I also had a few conversations with people I trusted to be straight with me and who understood what I was going through. 

    Here are some of the things that got me thinking this month, that intrigued me, and made me feel that I'm capable of creating my life.


    Mary in Lonely Swim by Greta van der Star (ANYONEGIRL)

    Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise/Maya Angelou (Netflix)
    It doesn't need to be said: Maya Angelou was a phenomenal force of nature. She's always been an inspiration to me, as a writer and as a black woman but there was so much about her I didn't know! This documentary shows how much she loved and was loved, her commitment to activisim and her bravery and resilience. I've been recommending it to everybody. 


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    I'm always looking for book recommendations (even when I still have lots to finish) and Girls at the Library not only provides a cornucopia of book recs but they're also paired with great interviews with amazing women who discuss the importance of books in their lives.


    “Let me teach you what the world thinks about us, and let me teach you what we’ve seen the world do to girls who look like us. And let me teach you why they’re wrong.” 
    There’s a lot of conversation surrounding #MeToo and from the think pieces to the opinion essays to the open letters, it can get overwhelming. This Guardian profile on Tarana Burke, the founder of Me Too, was one of the best things I’ve consumed on the topic. Burke gets back to the foundation of the movement, what she started it for and what she thinks is the benefit of it. She also recognizes the sensationalization of the movement and how that can divert from the purpose and importance of the movement.

    Image by Louisiana Mei Gelpi for Man Repeller

    Image by Louisiana Mei Gelpi for Man Repeller

    "Sexual violence may not be eliminated by a more nuanced and open conversation around consent, power and pleasure, but that doesn’t mean the conversation isn’t critically important". 
    The Conversation I Wish We’d Had After Aziz Ansari



    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at the New Yorker Festival

    Oprah's Super Soul Conversations. This has easily become one of my favourite podcasts, not only for the openness of the guests but for their certainty and their optimism. The interviews with Paulo Coelho, Gretchen Rubin, and Maya Angelou are my favourites.  

    My February playlist! I usually make a monthly playlist and listen to it (almost) every day. February was particularly moody with lots of Angel Olsen, Lana del Rey and a track from Mitski.

    What I was reading, watching and listening to in January


    To Have a Body

    "Grace Meets Matisse" (2016)  Elise Peterson

    "Grace Meets Matisse" (2016) Elise Peterson

    Body positivity. Body confidence. Love your body. These days, messages like these are hard to avoid. In the past few months, it’s become extremely popular to see Instagram posts in which people compare the differences in their body in a posed photo and when it’s relaxed. There are so many messages for us to love our bodies, although these are often followed by images of thin and toned bodies and ads (upon ads) that all promise you a "better" body in as little as 14 days. The conflicting nature of these messages make the cry for body positivity/confidence feel artificial. 

    I’ve always been concerned about the size and shape of my body. As a kid, I was always aware that I was bigger than most of my friends, who were small and quiet and cute. I, in comparison, was big and boisterous, and often felt like Princess Fiona when she first hugs her parents in her ogre form. Despite this awareness, I still wasn't bothered much. I was pretty confident and happy as a kid. I was smart and sociable, and the shape and size of my body didn't define me.

    In middle school, that started to change. I started to binge eat to combat feelings of loneliness or inadequacy. I didn’t have words to describe what I was feeling but I knew that if I felt horrible, scarfing down a container of cookies and cream ice cream and a pack of powdered donuts was a momentary remedy. I gained a lot of weight, which made me more insecure, especially when people in my life would bring attention to it--my doctor, my family, my best friend. I continued to feel lonely, angry, and insecure. I continued to binge.

    When my family moved to Trinidad when I was in the seventh grade, I lost a lot of weight. The unwanted move, the sudden change of circumstance, combined with intensified feelings of sadness, led me to stop eating. Matched with the magic of puberty, all my fat disappeared and i became “shapely”. People began to comment on how much weight I had lost and how good I looked. But I still didn't feel good. Until that moment, I had always associated slimness with happiness and confidence, so it was a bit of wakeup call to realize that my now loose clothes didn’t make me feel any better about myself. Now I worried about keeping off the weight, hungry for compliments so as to validate myself.

    Why did it matter if I was fat or skinny, chubby or toned? Why was I, at 12 years old, already evaluating my worth based on the size of my thighs and the roundness of my face? In all the time I’ve been alive, society has always promoted thinness. It has humiliated and shamed people for not fitting certain body standards. Even in our age of body positivity and confidence, this narrative still persists. And while in recent years, there has been a greater acceptance of women with larger bodies, there’s still a lot of work to do before there is an actual change in the way we see and talk about bodies. It feels like there's little room in the body positivity conversation to talk about the complexities of “loving your body”. I wish we talked more about how not loving your body doesn't mean not loving yourself.

    I do not love my body. Every time I look in the mirror and tell myself that I love my thighs or that I love my belly, I feel ridiculous. But I also don’t hate my body. There are some days where I wish it was smaller and more toned. Those moments pass.

    A body is just a physical vessel. We exist in them, but they do not define us. My body doesn’t say anything about who I am, except maybe that I really like donuts (like REALLY LIKE). My body doesn’t determine my worth, and I don’t need to love it. I think that's okay. 

    My Skincare Ritual

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    When I think about the word ritual, I think of magic. Of manifesting a desire, of making space in my life for a myriad of possibilities. So when it comes to my skincare routine, I'm less concerned about how well the products are doing and more concerned with how using them makes me feel. Am I satisfied? Do I feel like I could be a glowing beast worthy of Kira Kira? My current skincare routine is making me feel so confident that the only makeup I've been wearing lately is a flick of liquid liner, some mascara and seven seconds worth of Boy Brow. Here's the lineup...

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    Cleanser. I'm not married to any cleanser--all I need is a deep clean and moisture. My current favourites are Drunk Elephant's Peekee Bar and Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleanser

    Toner/Essence. I love the Mamonde Rose Water Toner and Missha's First Treatment Essence. They both leave my skin feeling moisturized and prepped for the rest of my routine. Both are Korean brands, so they're a little harder to get but they're completely worth it.

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    Serum(s). I'm really bad at taking my daily vitamins and it never seems to make a difference, but with serums, it's a whole different ball game. I've tried a bunch in the past, but I found the game changer last September when I started using Drunk Elephant's C-Firma Daily Serum. It's the second Vitamin C serum I've tried and it's worked amazingly. I actually see a difference in my skin when I use it and when I don't. I use Sunday Riley's U.F.O. Clarifying Oil at night, and it's amazing for fresh breakouts. 

    Glossier Groupie

    Glossier Groupie

    Moisturizer. If there's anything in my routine I'm really picky about, it's moisturizer. I once had a bad reaction to a Nivea face cream and since then I've been super careful about my moisturizer, avoiding thick creams. However, I have recently fallen in love with Glossier's Priming Moisturizer Rich, which gives me tonnes of moisture without making me face feel like it's being smothered. Honorable mentions go to Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream and Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream.

    Eye Cream. I have a love/hate relationship with eye cream. On one hand, the dark bags under my eyes say I desperately need them but on the other hand, my experience with them hasn't been exactly revolutionary. So far, most of the eye creams that I've found to be somewhat successful are mostly good for hydration and not much else. None have reduced the darkness or depth of my under-eye bags, so I don't feel the need to invest that much into it. The best one for hydration is Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado

    Sunscreen. I honestly hate sunscreen, especially on my face, but the EltaMD UV Daily is the best one I've tried and I don't want to try any others, because I know it works.  

    What products do you use? Do you think investing in skincare is a total sham? Or are you slowly working your way through Creme de La Mer? Let me know!