Life Moves Too Slow

Life Moves Too Slow

I walk very quickly.

It’s almost impossible for me to walk at a normal pace.

I bustle through my tiny town like I’m rushing through the streets of New York trying to get on the subway before rush hour.

But I’m just going to the post office.

I can’t slow down. Ever. Even when I try to sneak off to the beach for a quiet moment or two, my mind is always right there pestering me with a thousand thoughts.

What needs to be done this week?

What are you cooking for dinner?

Have you gone to the grocery store recently? Wait, what do you need?

Do you have a to-do list?

Should you reach out to him/her? Why haven’t they contacted you? Do they even care?

This week on my way to work, I was deliberately trying to walk slow. It took everything in me. Literally. I clenched my fists. I strolled and sighed as I realized how much I missed out on by moving so quickly. I felt the crisp November air and smiled. November was a rough month, which is somewhat amusing because last November was one of my favorite months. I boldly determined it was the best month of the year. I was wrong.

It’s funny–in a somewhat melancholic way–how things change so quickly. You go from snuggling warm bodies and filling your days with laughter to walking alone on a windy, dreary day surrounded only by the company of the cars passing by.

The change of scenery and pace, however, was necessary for me. Had I stayed where I was, I would have become a shell of myself. My potential would have been trapped under the weight of former obligations. My new obligations, though exhausting sometimes, are nowhere near as daunting as dealing with the looming cloud of the former.

So, maybe life doesn’t move too slow. Maybe it moves at just the right pace, but I sometimes move too fast to appreciate that.

A Window to My Soul

A Window to My Soul

“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:24 (NKJV)

I pray as I walk to work. I pray as I lie down at night. I pray when I am scared. I pray when I am lonely. I beg and plead to God as tears trickle down my cheeks.

Nothing.

I feel absolutely nothing.

My heart longs for an inkling–a touch from the Holy Spirit. Something. Anything.

But nothing is there. No spark. No flame. My soul feels cold, and I begin to doubt.

I have silently struggled because I do not want to find pride or honor in sharing my grievances. But Christians are called to live in community with one another, and I am only disadvantaging myself by not seeking that community.

So here I am. Letting myself be seen–weaknesses and all. Which is truly a weird and uncomfortable thing for me. But at the end of the day, this is not about me.

I was listening to a sermon from my home church the other day about the freedom we enjoy in Christ, and it was very convicting. My heart twinged as the pastor fervently spoke. “The Gospel doesn’t save you and I just so we can twiddle our thumbs and wait for eternity… Being formed into the image of Christ is absolutely a process. But it’s a process that should be evident in your life if you claim to be a follower of Jesus. This change is not an option, it’s not a preference. You and I cannot consistently follow Jesus and not consistently grow into his likeness.”

My mind blanked. Where is the fruit in my life? I struggled to find evidence of my growing love and relationship with Jesus. I was staring into the abyss of my own thoughts.

An Aside

Let me outline what I know to be true and the things of which I am sure, despite my doubting.

  1. There is a God.
  2. I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, that He died and rose again, and that He alone is savior of the world.
  3. There is a lot I do not know.

On Feeling

“Hear my cry for help, my king and my God, for to you I pray.”

Psalm 5:2 (NIV)

I feel very out of touch with God. And it is hard for me to even write this because I do not quite know how to put into words the hundreds of scattered thoughts going through my mind.

I think the thing that scares me the most is my lack of emotion. While some find comfort in it, feeling nothing is absolutely terrifying for me because I typically swing between extreme depths of emotion. And what makes it worse is that I don’t understand why it is happening. I don’t know if it’s some hidden sin or simply a test of faith at work in my life. However, I want to reach out to my community. I am not going to pretend I am unique in this struggle.

One request I’d like to make is this: Join me in prayer. Pray for those who are in a season of doubt, myself included.

Proverbs 11:14 talks about finding wisdom in the counsel of many.
“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

So consider this me seeking counsel. How do you deal with the chasm of nothingness in your life? My hope is to cultivate a little community that can share and grow together. Even if it is on this digital platform.

While I’m at it, I do want to ask how I can love and encourage all of you. Yes, within the community of believers, but also anyone reading–Christian or not. Comment below, if you’d like (anonymous is fine).

I am a listening ear for your struggles, just as you were for mine.

Thank you for reading.

The Side of Paris Fashion Week No One Talks About

The Side of Paris Fashion Week No One Talks About

Strolling through the streets of Paris with my Starbucks in hand, I felt extremely American. In my defense, I knew it was only my first coffee stop of the day. I made my way to the metro station, grabbed a seat and waited for my stop.

Upon walking back up to ground level, the grey Parisian sky was waiting for me. And so was the Champs-Élysées. I strolled down the street, gawking at all the luxurious shops and ran right into Fenty’s pop up shop in the Galaries Lafayette.

A quick walk through the park led me to the Grand Palais, where I saw my first fashion show ever. The photographers were lined up on the sidewalks to capture all the ultra glamorous people wearing giant sunglasses, half of whom I did not recognize at all. They all had one thing in common though: these gorgeous people strolled perfectly through the bustle of the photographers directly into the Elie Saab exposition. The music started. The show began.

After being dazzled by all the beauty I witnessed, it was time to make an essential stop at the Café de Flore. We walked in and sat down.

More Instagram influencers. I didn’t think it was possible to see so many chic people.

My friends and I sat and discussed whether the fashion industry is truly superficial or not. After all, these Instagrammers aren’t really… doing anything. They’re just here. Taking selfies and tons of pictures (in outfits that are, admittedly, super cute).

Are they following trends or are they creating them?

Who actually is creating the trends?

Do the designers and runways shows have control of the fashion world in 2019?

We dipped into a small cobblestone alley because we were tired of walking through crowds of tourists and photographers. At that moment, a Parisian woman walked by me–sunglasses on and purse in hand.

An everyday woman, yet still great style. I could totally recreate that outfit. I turn toward my friends, “All these French women own a pair of jeans that fit them just right and a great blazer. That’s really all you need.”

Maybe these are the people who create what’s new.

The everyday people. The ordinary people. I don’t know about you, but most of my outfit inspiration comes from people I see on the streets.

Sure, huge fashion houses and designers still have an obvious sway in the trends. But I think it’s becoming more common to draw inspiration from one another simply as human beings.

And I love that.


What were your favorite PFW looks? Comment below and I’ll share all my faves!
(Featured photo from Unsplash.)

Five Things You Should Know Before Visiting France.

Five Things You Should Know Before Visiting France.

For as long as I could remember, I’ve been a Francophile. I grew up dreaming of going to Paris, decided to study French in college, and I currently call this beautiful country my home.

But if you’re planning on taking a trip here, there are some things you should know.

1. France isn’t Paris.

This seems simple, but the amount of times I’ve had someone ask me “How’s Paris?” when I live nowhere near the city is… astounding? Sad?

For anyone still confused, here’s a map of France.

Map courtesy of Mapswire.

See that little star? That’s Paris.

Mainland France has 96 departments, so there’s definitely a lot more to see than Paris. The French often consider the countryside more “French” than the city anyway. So there’s that.

2. The French are very kind.

Contrary to popular belief, the French are not rude. They just don’t like tourists. It’s nothing personal, really.

If you are planning to take a trip to France, simply avoid looking like a tourist. This means no super bright colors, no crossbody Kavu bags, and yes…no Chacos.

Oh, and maybe learn a couple French words to at least prove you’re trying. Knowing simple words like bonjour/s’il vous plaît/merci can go a long way.

3. When it comes to restaurants/touristy stuff, you pay for the environment.

Unlike the Americans chugging their Venti Starbucks as they rush out the door, the French prefer to take things slow.

But it comes at a cost.

Getting a meal à emporter (to-go) is cheaper than staying sur place. For example, a coffee could be 1 euro, but it will be 2.50 if you stay to drink it.

I’d recommend indulging the extra euro and just staying to enjoy the atmosphere. There’s truly nothing better than people watching outside of a café as you sip your tiny expresso.

4. Public transportation is your best friend.

Typically when I envision public transportation, I think of Elaine Benes stuck on the disgusting NYC subway and having a mild panic attack.

But in France, the majority of people use public transportation. It’s actually clean (yes, even in Paris). It’s also pretty affordable if you’re a young adult. Anyone under 26 is considered a youth in France and receives discounts on pretty much any public service (museums and movies included).

So don’t be afraid to hop on the bus, metro or train!

5. Prepare for late nights.

The French love their soirées. They typically don’t eat dinner until around 8 p.m. and meals last two (or more) hours. They eat and talk and eat more and talk and eat and are still somehow super skinny…

In short, don’t plan on the next day’s itinerary being jammed pack if you’re eating dinner with a bunch of French people the night before. After dinner and drinks are all said and done, you’ll probably be getting home around 1 a.m.


French culture is fun and wildly rich, so try to enjoy it in as many nonconventional ways while you’re here! Bonne chance!

Got more travel questions? Leave a comment below. I’d love to start doing some travel blog posts, so tell me what you want to know!

What Fashion Month Looks like in the Age of Instagram

What Fashion Month Looks like in the Age of Instagram

You’ve seen it everywhere. Bella Hadid or Kaia Gerber snapping selfies in their runways looks. Vogue’s fancy 5 minute makeup tutorials with models like Winnie Harlow or Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. And we can’t forget Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty performance that went viral.

It’s pretty obvious that Fashion Week is in flux. It’s changing and morphing to match the current social media-crazed culture. Just searching the hashtag #FashionWeek on Instagram brings up 20.6 million posts.

So, what does that mean for the industry as a whole? One recent development is the inclusion of many freelance writers and bloggers who are now getting the chance to attend these high profile events–an opportunity not many had before the Internet.

This year, I had the privilege of chatting with two journalists/media communication professionals who attended New York Fashion Week.

Amanda Randone

Amanda Randone is a journalist, New Yorker and fellow French speaker. She was also formerly the editorial manager at Barney’s New York and a regular contributor to Refinery29, Cosmopolitan.com and Coveteur.

Briefly tell me how you got started going to fashion weeks. What was your inspiration? How long have you been attending?

“Believe it or not, I started attending shows at New York Fashion Week seven years ago when I was in college! Which I thought was simply the coolest thing in the world (it was). I was representing the NYU school newspaper, the Washington Square News, where we managed to land invites to higher-profile shows like Badgley Mischka, Lela Rose, and Rebecca Minkoff. I even covered a party hosted by the legendary Patricia Fields (also an NYU alumna!).

This exposure to the fashion world was thrilling, and I loved channelling the creative energy I witnessed on the runway into my own writing. The whole experience helped me envision what a future in fashion journalism would look like, and I knew it was a path I wanted to pursue professionally.”

What were your favorite shows this year?

“I was utterly inspired by the Burnett New York Spring 2020 show this season. A very talented friend of mine is a cofounder of the label, which is still in its industry infancy. Having a personal connection to the talent behind the collection–especially when the brand is so authentically committed to empowering women—and watching their vision materialize in all its beaded, vibrant glory gave new meaning to the whole experience. Plus, the venue was the sun-drenched Elizabeth Street Garden, a dreamy garden oasis tucked away in Nolita. It was the perfect Sunday afternoon.”

What trends did you see the most of? What do you think will actually hit the streets this fall and winter?

“I was definitely seeing geometric sleeves (a good example is the strong circularity around the arms of a few Maria Cornejo looks that were unforgettable… examples here and here).

I also can’t get my mind off of two-toned pants and dresses à la Cynthia Rowley and Dima Ayad (Dima is actually a Dubai-based designer who’s showing in Paris, but here’s a sneak peek of her take on the trend). And there were a few billowing shirt/dresses styled over pants, see Brandon Maxwell and Rosie Assoulin for reference!”

What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue fashion journalism?

“Write your heart out! And read trade journals like WWD to better understand the business behind the fashion. It’s an ever-evolving industry, and there are a lot of brands doing innovative things that’ll inspire you to think differently about how retailers hope to further engage with their customers (aka, your readers).

I also think it’s important to understand the major challenges facing media companies today. Get your feet wet with all things digital so you can dive into your first position well versed in SEO, e-commerce partnerships, and data analytics.”

Where can we find updates about you/your media company/your experiences as a journalist?

“I update the selected clips section of my website regularly, which is also where you’ll find the reporting I do outside of fashion (I cover women’s issues and write a lot about Islam, examples here and here!). My thoughts are occasionally on Twitter, and my looks/family/friends are often on Instagram.”

Hannah D’Avanzo

Hannah D’Avanzo is a journalist and founder of HD Access Media. She also happens to be someone I met (and became friends with) in college.

Briefly tell me how you got started going to fashion weeks. What was your inspiration? How long have you been attending?

“I was promised an interview with Jason [Derulo] during Fall Fashion Week of 2017, which was the start of my attendance for fashion weeks. Since then, I have attended Milan Fashion Week, Rome Fashion Week, New York Winter Fashion Week, and this past New York Fall Fashion. People have always inspired me. Everyone has a story to tell, and I became addicted to learning and hearing from others. Creators in particular inspire me because there is always a story behind their clothes and designs. I love a good story.”

What were your favorite shows this year?

“My favorite show this year was Cynthia Rowley.  Cynthia held her show outside which was a nice change from being indoors at shows all day. She had the most fun, summery outdoor theme. Some models even carried surf boards and wore bright colored clothing. I also liked that Cynthia featured one model that was much older and shorter than everyone else. This left me wondering, ‘What the story was behind the older model and who was she?’

I also enjoyed Bibhu Mohapatra’s show because he featured beautiful gowns that displayed his vibrant Indian culture. I’m also obsessed with sequins and details, and each of his gowns were beautifully embellished. I was so thrilled to get an interview with him!”

What trends did you see the most of? What do you think will actually hit the streets this fall and winter?

“Though all the shows were very different, I saw a lot of pieces featuring shades of mustard, orange and dark turquoise on clothing. I noticed lots of models on the runway wearing leather throughout the show. This did not only include black leather but all different muted colors on leather. I would not be surprised to see lots of leather trends in the near future.”

What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue fashion journalism?

“Stay up to date with trends. Dress the part you want to play ahead of time because the industry can be very superficial. I’d also say be friendly and get acquainted with publicists. Ultimately, they control everything and know everyone. I’ve had many publicists help me beyond measures. Just this fashion week I was able to watch a show backstage with the designer himself because of a publicist I talked to right when entering the show. I’ve also had many publicists tell me no and brush me off. Though this has happened on several occasions, I’d always recommend reaching out to publicists. This could potentially help further you in the industry.”

Where can we find updates about you/your media company/your experiences as a journalist?

“On my Instagram @hannahdavanzo or website www.hdaccessmedia.com.”


What have been your favorite Fashion Month looks so far? Leave a comment below! Also, follow this blog for more updates about upcoming fashion weeks.


P.S. If you’re looking for more information on London Fashion Week, I’d suggest starting with this article by Man Repeller.

For the styles at Milan Fashion Week, check out Refinery 29’s recap. Oh, and this video of J. Lo sporting the iconic dress that literally launched Google Images.

Music Moment: Lana Del Rey

Music Moment: Lana Del Rey

*Disclaimer: I’m using the abbreviation of the album’s title in this blog post. Just for clarification.*


I’ve never been one to obsess over the West Coast or dream of living on the beaches of Malibu. In fact, I typically wish I was in a cozy NYC loft or strolling through Central Park.

But Lana Del Rey’s latest release has me wishing I spent all summer laying on the beach in Cali with the warm sunlight peeking through pollution. 

Or spending summer nights indulging in the luxe life at the Chateau Marmont.

Or maybe towering over the city of Los Angeles, as Lana does in her vintage film-inspired music video for Doin’ Time. Nevertheless, my cat eye sunglasses only magnify the vibes this album exudes, as I listen and daydream of a fantasy summer filled with heartbreak and lost romance. 


In 2013-2014, I was obsessed with Lana. I bought flower crowns from Forever 21 to match her Born To Die aesthetic, and I thought I was the coolest kid in school (I can assure you, I was most definitely not).

As time passed, either I “outgrew” her or her albums got progressively worse. So, I just kind of stopped listening to her. But now she’s back with another album.

And I can’t stop listening to it.

Album cover for NFR!

NFR!–Lana Del Rey’s newest release–is a dreamy, hazy mix of songs about her former summer lover(s) and her new life in L.A.

Behind the Album

NFR! is Del Rey’s sixth studio album, produced with the help of Jack Antonoff, frontman of Bleachers.

It’s no secret that Del Rey tends to include American cultural references into all her albums, and this album is no different. Instead of paying homage to the cherry pie and retro red lipstick (or being the “classic” Americana diva), she chooses to use this album as a sort of mourning of American culture.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Lana explores the meaning behind her latest aesthetic. “The chaos of the [current] culture is interesting, and I’m hopeful that there’s room for there to be some movement and excitement within it.”

NPR music critic Ann Powers claimed that “On NFR! Del Rey is at her most instantly compelling, a pro asserting her future spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” 

As Time magazine points out, Del Rey’s voice is extremely unique. “She laments, stretching out the final word ominously, amid verses that enumerate the things she misses: Long Beach, New York, idleness and, somehow most chillingly, rock ‘n’ roll.”

My Thoughts? Lana is the epitome of the next internet sensation: Sad Girl Fall.

The title track opens with an instrumental swell that is soft and sweet, setting up the scene for the rest of the album. The lyrics, however, are harsh and crude against the instrumentals, giving the entire album an interesting contrast.

While I love the sound of the album, my one complaint is that most of the songs sound the same (as it goes with indie pop I suppose). Nonetheless, listening to her album was a serendipitous moment. I wasn’t expecting much, and she really outdid her previous albums. 

Fave song: Mariner’s Apartment Complex or Doin’ Time 

Least Fave: Bartender 

Overall, I give this album an 8.5/10. The last half of the album was less impressive than the first half, but Lana still manages to top all her previous work with NFR!


What did you think of the album? Leave a comment below!

A Mini Rant That Could Probably Be a Twitter Thread.

A Mini Rant That Could Probably Be a Twitter Thread.

I don’t like ranting online. Mainly because my words are stuck here forever, and if I say something stupid, it will most likely come back to haunt me. But here goes nothing.

I’m seeing a lot recently about news media and news outlets not “letting us know” about things that perhaps should be talked about more.

Example: this morning, I got on Twitter and saw where a police officer from my hometown reached a plea agreement in admitting to raping three women who were in his custody. Disgusting, horrible, etc. BUT the person who tweeted the story said, “Why am I just now hearing about this?!”

That’s a great question. Why are you just now hearing about it? I heard about it last year when the investigation started. I read articles about it, even on Twitter.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the media has a great responsibility and power to choose the stories that get covered in the news. It is crucial that journalists are precise and balanced in their coverage of topics. It does matter.

However, I’m in the school of thought that we each have a personal responsibility to seek out knowledge and information, even when it may not be convenient or “available.” Because let’s face it: in the Information Age we live in, we have so much stuff at our fingertips. Save for classified government documents (and even those sometimes get leaked), you can research pretty much anything and find it. Public records are available all across the internet. We can even diagnose ourselves with some life-altering disease on WebMD in minutes. (Okay, that last part was a joke. But we all know some of us do that).

People just don’t look for information partially because we are lazy and partially because it is so overwhelming to sift through all of that.

Hence, journalists. We come in, find the information and sift through it, find the holes and where things don’t line up, and attempt to reconcile all of that into one cohesive story. We are not perfect. We don’t always get it right. But we don’t sit around trying to cover up certain “types” of stories. It’s more so a matter of determining how often to cover stories/investigations and where they are placed in the newspaper (and online).

In short, I guess my point is this: don’t blame journalism/reporters/news media for your complacency in seeking out information.