July 25, 2017 – When You Forget Your Sunglasses (OOTD #74)

I've had a blog about forgetting a shirt, and now it looks like I've got one about forgetting my sunglasses.

You wouldn't think sunglasses would be as big of a deal as a shirt – I, as a female, cannot really go out without a shirt on, especially not to work. But for me, doing this fashion blog thing and taking photos of my outfit every day, sunglasses are a huge thing, sometimes being just as necessary as a a shirt.

Sunglasses obscure my eyes, which, for me, are my biggest problem when it comes to getting good smiling photographs. I'm Asian, so the plane of my face is rather flat, with my eyes being on the same level as my nose bridge and cheekbones, causing my eyelid creases to change shape depending on the day as they're not created by depth in my facial structure. This means that when I smile and my eyes scrunch up, my eyelids might also change shape, sometimes causing my eyes to look smaller or even lopsided.

That's where sunglasses come in to cover that all up and save the day. Plus, you can wear sunglasses to hide the fact that you have no eye makeup on, meaning they're great for a lazy soul like myself. Good sunglasses can even hide a few pimples on your forehead.

So anyway, I forgot my sunglasses, and I had done no makeup because I assumed my sunglasses would be covering up half of my face. I didn't really want to do my pictures without sunglasses, but I also didn't want to skip on doing pictures at all, since I still had a blog-worthy outfit (or as blog-worthy as a typical hardware store work outfit gets for me).

Luckily, in the car were my father's old sunglasses. I put them on and they were…less than flattering, but they did the job of covering my makeup-less face, and that's all I needed them to do.

In other news, I really need to have my hair redone. Look at those roots, haha! I'm trying to hold off because I want my color to look fresh for when I move off to college, but it's definitely getting a bit messy looking. I'd originally planned on doing it before I went off to London, but…welp, coming from a girl who wears sunglasses, not because she's concerned about damaging UV rays, but because it means she can wear less makeup, it wan't likely I was going to muster up the motivation, yeah?

Looks like that's it for today, so I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Shirt: Target

Necklace: Forever21

Sweater: The LOFT

 

Saturday Musings + Coffee – I Have 15 Minutes to Write This Blog

Wow, it's been quite a while since I've done one of these, huh?

Yes, while I wish I could keep up with these Saturday Musings posts a little better, I often have to go to work early on Saturday mornings, making writing these posts a little difficult. I don't exactly have the time to sit down, enjoy a nice cup of coffee, and reflect upon my life or whatever when I'm rushing out the door to beat the morning traffic, and I definitely don't have the time to write a blog about it.

Thankfully though, there are these wonderful things called afternoons, which come after mornings, and it's just as acceptable to enjoy coffee at 2:00pm as it is at 8:00am.

So that's what I did today. My mother and I were meeting with a former coworker at Starbucks to chat, so I thought I'd bring along my camera to take some artsy photos of my iced coffee and do one of these posts.

If it weren't the summer, and if it weren't too hot to drink a hot coffee, you can bet that's what I would be drinking. I'm not really into all of the cold coffee concoctions. I feel like to have a cold coffee, you really need for it to be sweet and dessert-like, but I'm not really into sweet coffees – I always take mine black. But sadly, I don't have the guts to drink a black cold-brew; I've tried and I'm sorry, it's just disgusting.

My compromise then is a lightly sweetened vanilla iced coffee – less caloric and less sweet than say, a frappuccino (not ashamed to say I Googled how to spell that), but still less disgusting than a plain cold brew. But like I said, at the end of the day, I like a hot, black coffee, and the fact that I cannot drink those on summer afternoons is just another reason why I am not a summer person.

And it looks like my fifteen minutes is nearly up! I started this blog at 4:45, and I have a friend coming at 5:00, so this post was something of a little exercise to see how long I could stay focused and write when I was under a time limit. It's not the longest, most in-depth post ever, but it's something, right?

Anyway, that’s it for today. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com.

July 23, 2017 – I Got Your Picture, I’m Coming With You (OOTD #73)

…dear Maria, count me in…

All Time Low is one of my favorite bands, so when I got to see them in concert on Sunday, you can say I was just a little hyped. I did my hair and makeup up all nice, took a few selfies, and then I hopped in the car with my friend Amanda (the same one I did London with), and prepared myself for the 3 hour-long drive up to Columbus, Ohio.

About an hour and a half into the drive, we hit our first issue – a traffic buildup just outside of Cincinnati. Thankfully, I was using Waze, which was able to give us another route around the the traffic, but we still lost about a half an hour. And we had to drive through Covington, Kentucky, one of the sketchiest places I've had the misfortune of driving through (it's right up there with Camden, New Jersey – my dad's hometown), where I glimpsed more shirtless old men than I have ever cared to have seen.

Anyway, we finally made it to the venue, Express Live, where we were greeted by a pleasant surprise – it was a pretty small venue! That's always a good thing for concerts because it means, in a free admission seating arrangement like we had, you're more likely to be able to get up close to the stage.

On the other hand, being a smaller venue, there was no kind of overhead coverage to protect the audience from the weather. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, but of course, it rained.And rained and rained and rained. It began right after the second opening act left the stage. Amanda and I had moved down into the pit and were standing there in the drizzle kicking ourselves over not bringing in our raincoats (and we couldn't go back and get them either – no re-entry) when the rain began to pick up, as it does in storms. We spent about 15 minutes running around, trying desperately to find some place where we could take shelter – there was literally nothing like, anywhere, not even a merch tent – before we finally found a bathroom that we could hide in.

And that's where we stood for the entirety of the third opening act, smushed up against the bodies of other soaking wet and miserable girls, shuffling around every once in a while when someone needed to get to the toilet, and listening to muffled sounds of the band through the brick.

Finally, about 40 minutes later, the rain let up. But by then my hair and makeup was pretty much ruined, so much so that I even considered not bothering to do photos today. I really loved my outfit though, so I forced Amanda to get some shots as quickly as she possibly could while trying to keep as much of the camera as possible under her rain poncho.It was all a very interesting experience, not unlike the adventure we had in the Atlanta airport (which, might I add, is abbreviated ATL – the same way as All Time Low…suspicious…). As for the All Time Low itself? They were great! Definitely a band I would go to see again, no question. Getting to hear songs I love like "Missing You" and "Weightless" in person was lovely and well-worth getting soaked just an hour prior.

Looks like that's it for today, so I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: Unknown (thrifted)

Shorts: Abercrombie

 

July 21, 2017 – Let’s Do The Time Warp Again (OOTD #72)

As promised from yesterday's blog, here's the blog post for Friday the 21st, posted a day after the blog for Saturday the 22nd due to technical difficulties and writer idiocy.
More on that here.
On Friday, my dad and I went out hiking to Red River Gorge, a beautiful canyon system in Central KY. We both got the day off from work and made it into something of a father-daughter thing. Actually, we'd initially planned on doing a canoeing trip on the Kentucky River, but that had to be canceled and rescheduled as there hadn't been enough rain in the week prior for the water levels to be high enough.
Hiking's pretty cool though, so no complaints from me there. I will always prefer to hike in the fall (pretty leaves, cooler temperatures, yada yada), but I admit, it wasn't bad at all. We left the house at like, 7:30 in the morning and got to the trails by 9 or 10, so it hadn't gotten blisteringly hot yet, and it was a cloudy day, so we didn't really have to deal with the sun beating down on us. Plus, for extra protection, we opted for a trail that was down in the canyon and surrounded by trees, so it was nice and shady.
My family and I went hiking a lot when I was a kid – Cumberland Falls, Red River Gorge, Gatlinburg – if it's in the Midwest/Southeast near Kentucky, I've probably been there. I used to absolutely hate it though – the bugs, the heat, the physical exertion – it wasn't really my style. I guess it's still not quite my style, as I still hate bugs and heat, but I do have a greater appreciation for the natural environment you get to experience when you hike.
Our trail led us to something called Whittleton Arch, a nice little rock formation about a mile and a half from the road. I, of course, took immediately to climbing it and posing on top of the rocks, letting my dad get some cool photos like this:
For real though, I like hanging out with my dad, and I wish I got to do it more. He's a pretty cool dude, and I'm not just saying that because he has the patience to take a decent chunk of the photos for this stupid blog, including the ones from this trip. I'll miss him when I go off to college, and that's what made our time together hiking so nice.

Want to read more about my Red River Gorge adventure, and how it affected my fashion choices for the next day? Part 2 of the epic saga is already up here!

Looks like that's it for today, so I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: Adidas (thrifted)

Top: Forever21

Shorts: Target

July 22, 2017 – Miguel’s Pizza Should Pay Me to Wear This (OOTD #71)

So I uh…messed up.

I'm writing this blog on my phone as I sit in a car on my way up to Cincinnati, meaning I'm using data rather than WiFi. That's really not a big deal by itself, except that it means I'm limiting to posting only the pictures I have stored locally here on my phone; I can't access anything I have stored on my camera or laptop, and I can't AirDrop anything to my phone without Internet.
Unfortunately, the photos for the blog that was supposed to go up today were taken on my dad's camera, which I've left at home. If I were an intelligent human, I would have uploaded them from the SD card to my laptop and AirDropped them to my phone so I could post them from here, but um…yeah, I didn't.
Luckily, I have the photos from Saturday on my phone, so I can write that blog post now and post Friday's blog tomorrow, you'll just have to bear with me as we travel forward and then back in time for these next few days.
Anyway, this outfit is fun because I got this shirt from a tiny, dive-like pizza joint in Red River Gorge, a canyon system with some beautiful hiking trails in Kentucky. My dad and I went on Friday (more on that tomorrow), and afterwards, we got pizza from Miguel's. We both adored the dinky but charming atmosphere, so we bought shirts with the logo on it because we're hipsters like that.
Anyway, on Saturday, I was so excited about my dumb hipster pizza shirt that I decided to wear it. With the black tie-dye going on, I was definitely getting some vintage rocker vibes, so I tried to emulate that in my outfit and hair.
I say that like my hair was intentional, and that I actually spent time on it, but in actuality, I just had my hair in braids when I went hiking and I was too lazy to take them out. Or uh…wash it.
But it's okay, because I wound up with these really lovely beach waves that photographed really nicely and blew in the wind dramatically.
Lazy day hair in a nutshell, right? Or…the good lazy day hair days, at least.
Shirt: Miguel's Pizza
Shorts: H&M
Arm band: Altar'd State

July 20, 2017 – Infernal Kentucky Heat (OOTD #70)

I feel like I do a lot of complaining about the weather here.

For real, it’s quite possible that every other blog post on this silly little website has a reference to my outfit being impractical for the humidity and heat that we get in Kentucky, and yet, I have made no efforts to change my habits. From my unconventional summer solstice outfit to my shameless reliance upon layering, not for warmth, but for fashion, it’s clear that summer is simply not my season.

In fairness, I did just start this blog in the late spring, meaning all you guys have gotten to hear about are my summer outfits, and with them, my relentless complaining about summer weather. It’ll get better in the fall and winter, I swear! 😉

Still, it must come as no surprise to you that on a day like this, with a heat index at 100 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity at some ungodly high percentage, I’m wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a polyester jacket – in other words, I’m begging for death via heat stroke.

On another note, I got to do my pictures today in this lovely park not far from my house. It’s really nice because they leave part of it, some wetlands and the area around them, unmowed and wild, meaning I got to do this fun shoot in the tall grass, making me look cooler than I actually am.

(Did I just call the photos I do for this blog a “shoot?” Does that qualify as pretentious?)

Looks like that’s it for today, so I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: Adidas (thrifted)

Shirt: H&M

Jeans: Hollister

 

July 19, 2017 – My Archenemy, Poor Lighting (OOTD #69)

You know, apart from the cockroach in the Atlanta airport.

I didn't get off of work until 6 today, so it was probably 7:30 until I actually got around to getting the pictures of my outfit, meaning the natural lighting by that time was not quite ideal.

When I'm at home, one of my favorite locations to take photos is in front of my garage door, since it makes for a plain, stark background that my outfit can pop against. It's also excellent because the afternoon sun hits that part of my house in a really flattering way between about 3:00pm and 5:30pm – but not so much by the time 7:30 rolls around.

At 7:30, the sun is beginning to set, making for more direct lighting. Now, that's usually good thing, except that there's a tree in front of my house, so direct sunlight means that the tree casts odd shadows in front of the garage door. Depending on the day, those shadows can either be very interesting, or, in the case of today, just a little awkward.

But that's what happens when you dedicate yourself to taking photos of your outfit everyday! Sometimes you get lovely lighting, fun backgrounds, and a good photographer, and sometimes the lighting is off, the background is boring, and your photographer is whatever random person walking down the street looks like they'd be willing to take a picture or two of you (not the case today – it was my father, who is arguably the best photographer I've ever had for this website!)

As for today's outfit, I think I picked it out about two minutes before I had to rush out the door to get to work. Work outfits always have to put practicality first, since I can be on my feet for a pretty long time, so there was no artistic layering or 6-inch heels going on here – just a simple pair of pattered pants and a plain top. My hair's in a bun because it's been an embarrassingly long time since I last washed it, and, as the updo very clearly allows you to see, an even longer time since I did my roots, ha!

Looks like that's it for today, so I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: Forever21

Necklace: J. Crew

Pants: Ann Taylor LOFT

 

July 16, 2017 – Back in the USA (OOTD #68)

After a harrowing experience in the Atlanta airport involving 22 hours, sleeping on a chair, and an epic showdown against a cockroach named Jonny, I'm finally back in Lexington.

It's definitely a relief. London and the approximately 240 hours I spent there were wonderful, but 22 hours in a dirty, ugly airport such as ATL is enough to make anyone miss home and its cockroach-free bathrooms.

My first day back, my mother had a picnic that she'd organized along with her work friends, so my father and I stopped by for a few hours. I was exhausted and cranky, not to mention generally bitter that it's a solid 10 degrees hotter and feels 100% more humid here in Kentucky than it was in London, so perhaps I was not the best company for anyone there, but it was still nice to get out of the house. The hot dogs were pretty decent too.

Plus, the picnic was held at a really beautiful location. The church we were at, Walnut Hill, was constructed back in 1801 on land donated by Mary Todd Lincoln's grandfather (wife of the famous Abraham), and there was this awesome old cemetery around back with graves dating back to the late 18th century. Nothing as old as some of the stuff I saw in London, but still probably one of the oldest buildings in the state, and arguably just as cool (and this church doesn't charge 20 pounds for admission! cough cough, St. Paul's Cathedral)

Neither my father nor I are particularly sociable people, so when we got bored of staring at the people talking, we wandered off to explore some of the church's grounds. I got my photos for my outfits in in this beautiful little courtyard area, and my dad and I made a sport of trying to find the oldest gravestone in the cemetery, made low-key dangerous by the high grass and my idiot decision to wear wedges.

I guess that's it for today. Not a very eventful blog post, I know, but I hardly did anything other than sit at home, jet lag-heavy eyes trying to stay open while my whole body tried to tell them it should be six hours later. It wasn't too bad though – much better than when I returned from China after my trip in third grade. I think I had to take two or three days of school off to recover from that.

I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: Liz Claiborne (thrifted)

Skirt: Vintage

 

July 13, 2017 – Goodbye London (OOTD #67)

It was our final day in London, and, not to be cliché but it was rather bittersweet.

In one sense, I’m glad to be going home, back to a country where the restrooms are free, my cords work in the outlets, and air conditioning is abundant, but of course, it’s also rather sad going back to normal reality. I’m going to have to return to work in a few days, start packing for school, coordinate dorm decorations with my new roommates – things I’ve been putting off thinking about since I’ve been here in London.

We started off our day in the same way as always – a crumpet, some coffee, and fresh fruit. Sue, our host, has been so lovely about letting us stay with her, even getting to know our breakfast preferences and having them set out for us on the table every day when we wake up. It's because of her we've even been able to come on this trip – like seriously, is a broke college kid going to be able to afford a hotel in London for two weeks? No.

We brought her some chocolates when we first arrived as a hostess gift, but Amanda and I both felt like we needed to do something more. She suggested that I do a little drawing of her and her daughters, so over the last few nights, I've been working on doing this little doodle. It's nothing special, but people like getting art, and I like doing it.

After the unfortunate fires that went through Camden Lock just a day before we had been planning to go (we were going to go right after we did Shoreditch, but we found out that morning that there had been some bad fires in that part of town), we didn't think we were going to be able to get there during our time in London, but thankfully, they managed to contain the fires enough that we could still see parts of the area and market.

Camden Town was cool, but I don't know – I might've liked Shoreditch and its market better. Perhaps that was partially because we didn't get to see all of Camden Lock due to the fires, but mostly, I just liked how colorful and artistic Shoreditch was. Camden has its own quirky personality – there were some really awesome goth and alternative fashion stores that I could've spent hours in – and I loved the canal (I think it's a canal?) that runs through the area, but it just didn't quite have the same soul to it.

After spending plenty of money on street food, Amanda and I headed back over to West End for another show – this time, we got tickets for Les Mis, a personal favorite for both of us. By then, both our phones were in the single digits in terms of battery, and we were desperately trying to conserve their failing energies while still using their GPS's to navigate the unfamiliar area. We actually might've spent more time walking around that area and looking in the shops, but once we found the Queen's Theatre, we were too afraid to stray very far in fear of our phones dying and having no way to navigate ourselves back!

For real though, Les Mis was excellent. I've been a fan ever since I watched the DVD recording of the 25th anniversary Royal Albert Hall concert (which I still argue is one of the best casts ever – with the exception of Nick Jonas as Marius), and I know almost every song by heart, including the odd ones, like "Confrontation" and "The Thénardier Waltz of Treachery." It was wonderful finally getting to see the show live in-person. The cast did a lovely job, and even with our terrible upper circle seats, I was drawn into the world the staging and sets created.

After the show, we walked back to the Tottenham Court station and took our final Cambridge-bound train back to Broxbourne, and from there, our final overpriced cab (7 pounds! For literally a five minute ride!) back to the house.

London's been amazing, and [insert clichés about never forgetting the adventures I've had, being grateful for the opportunity to travel, yadayadayada]. I joke, but I do mean it. I've had a lot of fun out here, and I'm sad to be going back.

That’s it for today! I’ll see you in the next one. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

(Don't let the sun go down on me, amirite?)

Top: Pitaya

Shorts: Abercrombie

Choker: Madewell

July 12, 2017 – Cambridge, CANbridge, CAN’Tbridge (OOTD #66)

That was a dumb title, I know.

But hey, those are just a staple at this point at L’ensemble du jour. What is a blog post without a stupid, kind-of-but-mostly-not clever title?

By day 7, Amanda and I were growing tired of London. Its newness had worn off, and we were running out of neighborhoods and boroughs we wanted to see. Sue offered to take us out to see Windsor, but the admission prices were sort-of steep, and we are poor college kids who are only here in London by some rather lucky circumstances. Thus, we decided to take our Oyster cards and take a little day trip out to Cambridge.

You’ll notice I said “take our Oyster cards out to Cambridge,” and if you’re a London local, you’ll know that doesn’t work – Oyster cards only work on zones 1-9 throughout the Greater London area. But we are not London locals, and we did not know that wouldn’t work, so we wound up an hour and a half later at a platform in Cambridge with no way to swipe out to get into the actual town.


We had two options at that point – take the train out to the closest station where our Oyster card would allow us to swipe out, so we could buy tickets (which happened to be Broxbourne, the station we began at – and the station that I just mentioned was an hour and a half away) or find a railway worker, admit our mistake, and pay the penalty fee.

We opted for the former.

We hopped back on the Liverpool St train and prepared ourselves for a very long, very sad journey all the way back to Broxbourne. Thankfully, as luck, or perhaps God, would have it, we didn’t have to go all the way back to Broxbourne – the first stop the Liverpool train made was this little town called Shelford, which had a ticket dispenser machine right there on the platform.

In the end, it was probably only a 30 minute detour, but it felt much, much longer. It some ways, it was a happy mistake though – by using our Oyster cards to swipe out at Broxbourne, riding the train to Shelford, and then buying tickets for a ride from Shelford to Cambridge, we only had to pay about three pounds for the whole journey rather than the twenty-something it would have cost to ride from Broxbourne to Cambridge.

Finally in Cambridge, we were in desperate need of some refreshment, so we stopped in a Caffè Nero, the English equivalent of Starbucks. We got some well-deserved coffee, charged our phones, and rested up a bit before embarking on the 30 minute trek all the way out to central Cambridge.

Cambridge was a really beautiful town. It wasn’t exactly a small countryside village, but it almost felt like it; it was so different from the bustle of London. People were riding their bikes everywhere, the roads were uneven cobblestone, and I kept getting weird glances from the much more conservatively dressed locals because I was wearing a crop top.

We had wanted to go punting tour on the river in Cambridge, but unfortunately, we missed out on the final tour of the day due to some big group that was coming in later in the day. It was a bit disappointing, not being able to take this one actual guided tour we’d scheduled, but we still got to see the town and the school, so it was okay. We walked around some more, stopped in a pub where I got bangers and mash (very, very good by the way – but very, very heavy), and then got a rather overpriced Uber back to the station.

That’s it for today! I’ll see you in the next one. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: Aerie

Skirt: Street vendor in New York

Choker: Madewell