Saturday Musings + Coffee – Nepal Day One

Greetings from Nepal!FullSizeRender-1.jpeg

It took 27 hours of traveling including layovers, but finally, I’m here!

These photos were taken in the Chicago O’Hare terminal while I waited for my flight to Abu Dhabi — waiting which I probably shouldn’t have done.

See, I had a four hour layover in Chicago after I flew out from Lexington, and so I figured I would be able to sit there with my laptop for at least a little and do a bit of work. That’s actually where this blog was written and published.FullSizeRender.jpeg

So after two hours of sitting there in the domestic terminal, I figured I’d saunter over to the international one, which, judging by the signs I had seen, was just a short ride on the airport rails away. At this point, I had two hours before my flight departed, and I thought I had plenty of time.

Of course, things didn’t happen as planned — the rails were closed for some reason, which I didn’t realize until I had gone to two separate platforms at different locations in the airport and seen that they were closed. After asking around — with one person even telling me that the rails were open, which they clearly weren’t — I found a shuttle to take me to the international terminal.

That all took about 45 minutes, so as I rode the shuttle over to the international terminal, I was slightly worried, but not terribly so. That was, until I arrived at the international terminal and saw the queue to get through security.

I made it through, but not before worriedly calling my mother and questioning whether I’d be able to make it through in time. I’ve had experiences where it’s taken hours to get through a long security line, and I was afraid that that would happen to me again. Thankfully, by channeling my native Chinese pushing-through-lines skills, I was able to get through with about thirty minutes to spare.IMG_1116.jpeg

I was one of the last people to board the flight, and I missed out on any chance I might’ve had otherwise to get bumped up to business or first class, but I made it, and that’s what counts.

There’s more to this travel story, but I think I’ll leave it until I post the blog from that day. Until then, here’s what Google Translate just told me is “goodbye” in Nepali: अलविदा!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

 

June 15, 2018 – Let’s Go Down to the Tennis Court (OOTD #303)

…and talk it out like yeah?

IMG_0605.jpeg

I absolutely had to Google the lyrics to that (“Tennis Court” by Lorde, by the way) because I haven’t heard that song since like, 2014 when I was a freshman in high school. Freshman me probably would have been ashamed that I didn’t remember it, but what can I say? It’s been years since “Tennis Court” frequented pop radio, and it’s been even more years since I regularly listen to pop radio.IMG_0591.jpeg

I had a brief Lorde phase after “Royals” came out when I would listen to the whole of Pure Heroine almost everyday while I did my Algebra II homework; it was a good studying album. I still really like a few of the songs, like “Love Club” and “Buzzcut Season,” and leave them in my Apple Music’s shuffle rotation. Melodrama was also a solid album, and also made for good studying music.

I’ve always wanted to do a proper tennis court photoshoot, but this impromptu one that mom did for me as we walked the dog through the park will have to do for now, at least until I’m back in the US. You’ll have to excuse the slightly messy hair texture — like I said, I was out walking the dog with my mom, and it was pretty warm out.IMG_0604.jpegIMG_0609.jpeg

I keep a Pinterest board for Instagram ideas, where I’ve seen a lot of really cute tennis court fashion photography that really cleverly uses the vibrant colors of the court as a background. Maybe once I get back to the US, I’ll drag Amanda out and make her take pictures with me.IMG_0596.jpeg

In more exciting news, I arrived in Nepal a few hours ago! In else exciting news, I won’t go into much detail with the Nepal adventures now because I’m sure I’ll have a full blog dedicated to that later this month. Rest assured, after 27 hours of traveling, I made it!IMG_0587.jpeg

The jet lag is beginning to kick in though, so I think I ought to try to get some sleep. It’s about 5:30 AM here, and while I got a little sleep earlier in the night, it really wasn’t as much as I should have gotten. Whoops.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Sweater: Target

Top: Pitaya

Jeans: American Eagle 9thr

June 13, 2018 – Warm Colors on a Warm Day (OOTD #302)

Perhaps the most common criticism I hear about my fashion sense is that no matter the season, I always dress like it’s fall.

Take this outfit for example — I don’t remember exactly what the temperature was the day I wore this, but given the fact that it was mid-June in Kentucky, it’s safe to say it was hot and humid. Even if it wasn’t as hot and humid as usual, it was still hot and humid.

And yet there I was — wearing a knee-length jacket and a long-sleeve sweater. The skirt and the platform wedges give hint to the reality that it was probably 85 degrees out and sunny, but on the whole, the outfit reads more as 65 degrees and overcast.

Interestingly though, fall is not my favorite season — as mentioned many times here on this blog, that distinction goes to winter, no doubt about it. Fall is second-favorite for me, though. I like the changing leaves and the cooler temperatures, but I just like the snow and the cold even better. Plus, winter allows you to bust out the heavy coats and scarves — I love layering, which you can do in fall, but not to the same extent you can in winter.

That would make summer, with its stifling heat that prohibits anything but the most basic layering, my least favorite season. In fact, I am so deeply not a fan of summer, that I usually choose to ignore the weather, and dress however I want — and since wearing a winter coat in the summer would might give rise to enough suspicion to let a cop do a warrantless search, that usually ends up being a summer-winter hybrid. So, fall.

The thing is, though, that I’m always comfortable. I work indoors, I go to school indoors, and whenever I do something that involves being outdoors for more than a few minutes, I do dress appropriately for the weather. It’s all about dressing for the environment you’re in.

The rest is about suffering the heat without complaint too much and bringing lots of blotting papers.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: Vintage (thrifted)

Top: thrifted

Skirt: Forever21

July 11, 2018 – Outfit and Blog Do Not Relate (OOTD #301)

I’m headed out of the country in less than 24 hours!

This time tomorrow, I should be on a plane headed to Abu Dhabi, UAE, en route to my final destination Kathmandu, Nepal.

Exciting, right? Well, maybe the Kathmandu part, but not so much the traveling portion. I’ll be stuck in the Chicago O’Hare (hey, at least it’s not Midway!) for like, six hours before getting on my plane to Abu Dhabi for seventeen hours. Then I have to wait there for another three hours, and then fly to Kathmandu for four hours. I think we calculated it last night, and I have 27 total hours of transit time before I finally touch down in Nepal at 9pm local time on Friday? Yike.

I’ve been working on packing all day today, and at the very least, I have a lot of exciting Nepal-appropriate outfits to show you guys while I’m there! Hopefully, one of the other students there will be comfortable to take my photos. I don’t know any of them really, but  I’m sure we’ll all have to play photographer for each other at one point or another — I just…you know, usually need someone to play photographer for me more often than most.

But that has nothing to do with the outfit I’m posting pictures of here, does it? Well…no. That’s the drawback of posting these OOTDs with a several day-delay — it protects me for days when I don’t feel like dressing up and taking pictures, but it hurts when I have something exciting in my life that I’m not able to write about for until days after it happens.

In truth, I’m not sure when my first Nepal-related blog will go live, since I don’t know how soon after I arrive I’ll be able to start taking OOTD photos, but hopefully, it shouldn’t be long. Most of the time I’m there, I’ll be doing school-related work, which might not be super exciting, but I will have a few field trips with the group, so I should definitely get some good pictures then.

Next time I write to you guys, it’ll actually probably just be me sitting in the O’Hare airport waiting to board my Abu Dhabi-bound plane. Wish me luck, and pray that I don’t get trapped in the Atlanta airport for 48 hours like the last time I flew internationally!

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Dress: vintage (thrifted)

June 8, 2018 – Haircuts and Habaneros (OOTD #300)

For those of you folks at home keeping score — this is Mexican restaurant #3 that’s serving as a background for OOTD photography. For the first two, check them out here and here.

You might remember that I’ve been considering changing up my hair for a while now, and I’ve finally gone off and done it! I’m back to blonde!

…ish. Actually, my hair isn’t quite finished its transition yet, but I liked this outfit so much, I wanted to photograph it anyway, even with my hair left in an incomplete state. Plus, I was outside a Mexican restaurant, and it seems like I have to take pictures every time I go to one of those anymore (hence the habaneros part of the title — okay, a bit of a stretch, I know).

Besides, it won’t be another week until I can get into the salon again, and I didn’t want to lay off from blogs for a whole week just because my hair wasn’t quite the color I wanted. I’ll just have to tolerate being a redhead for a little.

As you might have caught a few paragraphs back, I’m aiming for blonde here. I’ve been blonde before (for two years actually), which was the hair color I began this blog with,  though I’ve transitioned through a couple of different hair colors over the last year, ranging from grey to brunette to purple to pink. Through all of those colors, though, I felt a longing to go back to blonde — I don’t know, I just feel like it’s the best hair color for me.

The annoying thing about blonde, though, is that my natural hair color — jet black — is about as far away from blonde as any color can be. Thus, it takes a ton of bleach and 40-vol developer to lift it to even a honey color, which, as anyone who’s dabbled in chemical coloring will tell you, is super damaging. That’s actually the original reason why I had to chop my hair off and lay off the bleach for a few months — as you can see here, after two years of bleaching it blonde, it was stringy and terrible-looking. Let’s just say it was so bad, that when I went to a cornfield at a farm with my dad, I had a hard time distinguishing between my hair and the broken, dead corn stalks.

This time, though, my plan is to have my roots blended into the lightened areas in such a way that I’m able to go longer spans of time without bleaching it, and thus avoid the terrible damage I wound up with last time.

We’ll see how it turns out though. Like I said, it’ll be another week until I can get in and have it bleached a second time, hopefully in order to lighten it up to an actual blonde. Fingers crossed it doesn’t fall off and I don’t have to shave my head! Though that probably wound’t be so bad — I’d be willing to try shaving my head at some point in my life for the hell of it.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: H&M

Jacket: H&M

Skirt: Zara

June 5, 2018 – Four Years Later (OOTD #299)

Storytime!

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, my mother and I were shopping at an outlet mall. The store, I believe, was Charlotte Russe, which is a brand I’m pretty sure I haven’t shopped much since.

We were looking for a dress for me for my sophomore year Fall Formal. It was my first formal dance in ever (excluding father-daughter dances when I was really young), and I was determined to find something perfect. This was my first big high school dance, and I was excited for it.

I had a vision in mind of how I wanted to look, but I knew that it wasn’t really practical. 2014, if you’ll remember, was the era when the faux nude Elie Saab dresses were all the rage on the runway and on haute couture Pinterest boards. I mean, they’re still pretty big, but back then, during my sophomore year, they were both wildly popular and wildly innovative and new. I wanted something that drew inspiration from Elie Saab gowns, but was still appropriate for a high school formal.

So, that day, when my mother and I happened upon a dress in the Charlotte Russe outlet with a high neck and lace detailing, I thought perhaps that that was the best I would be able to do. As much as I loved the lacy neck detail, though, I didn’t much like the style of the actual dress — it was a peplum, and, not that I had anything against peplums, but I thought it was a little boring for my first high school dance.

In other words, I wanted something with more impact. I put the dress back on the hanger, and resolved that I would buy it if nothing better came along before the dance.

As it turned out though, something did some along that I liked better — a red dress with similar faux nude lace detailing, but with a skater style skirt instead of the peplum. I don’t know if I would call it a showstopping hit, but I remember getting a lot of compliments on it.

So what’s the relevance of this story? The other day, in Goodwill, I happened upon a peplum top from Charlotte Russe of the exact same styling of the dress I had passed up in the outlet mall so many years ago. And even though the style was a few years old, I couldn’t resist picking it up, if just for the sake of staying I finally owned a high lace neck piece.

And that, four years later, is the end of the lacy high neck detail journey. I’m not sure if I really feel like I’ve become any better of a person at the end of this story, but at the very least, I now own a piece I always sort of regretted not purchasing. Yay closure?

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: Charlotte Russe (thrifted)

Jeans: Abercrombie

June 4, 2018 – Peak 2013 Fashion (OOTD #298)

Just a few days until OOTD #300 — that is, assuming that I’m actually disciplined enough to post blogs everyday for two days.

This outfit reminds me a lot of something that I would’ve worn in 2013, back when I was in middle school.

Pardon me if that makes me sound like I’m saying my outfit looks dated or childish (or worse — dated and childish). I mostly just mean to say that these pieces — the necktie blouse, the button-down cardigan, even down to the black leggings — are classic enough that they haven’t gone out of style since 2013. Unlike, for example, hi-low skirts, which look pretty dated now in 2018.

This outfit is a little less “cutting edge” than they were back in 2013, admittedly. Wearing this back then was probably a lot more of a head-turner than it is now, five years later, when flowy silky blouses and Victoria’s Secret PINK leggings have been around  for quite some time.

And since this was just an outfit for a normal day at work, I don’t see anything wrong with going for a less-than-head-turning outfit. As much as I’d like to stick to a “life is a runway” mentality, the reality is, just like this blog’s upload schedule, that’s a little difficult to maintain on the daily.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Sweater: Ralph Lauren (thrifted)

Top: Forever21

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Kathmandu Preparations

This is it, my last weekend in the US before I leave for Nepal!

I have a lot still to do — packing, applying for my visa, completing some reading, just to name a few of my upcoming tasks. I’m hoping actually do get some done this evening, we’ll see though. I have a bad habit of falling asleep with the light on after finishing up an evening blog.

Perhaps most concerning of things on my to do list is some reading I’d really like to do before I head off — reading that totals about 350 pages. And it’s not really even exciting reading, just dull academic stuff. That’s not to say it won’t be interesting, just difficult to motivate myself to do considering it’s not a necessity for a grade. Heck, I even had difficulty motivating myself to do academic reading in school when it was a necessity for a grade.

Thankfully, though, I have a few days off from work before I go, so I should have time to do all the travel preparations I need to do. I’m a little nervous to travel to a foreign country by myself, and I’m not at all looking forward to my six hour layover in Chicago, but once I’m settled, things should be alright. It’s just the process of getting settled that worries me.

I have a hard time getting excited for things before they occur, but once I’m actually in Nepal, I should be able to enjoy myself. I’m less likely to excitedly anticipate an event, and more likely to forlornly reminisce about it afterwards.

On a final note, check out this blop tongue from my cat this morning. He’s a good boy. I’ll miss him when I’m gone.

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

June 3, 2018 – Trendy Brunch Date (OOTD #297)

I’ll let you in on a secret — I think brunch is overrated.

I like the aesthetic of it, I guess — white tablecloths, fresh floral arrangements, elegant baked pastries, and indirect morning light. But in reality, brunch food is overpriced, lousier than real breakfast or real lunch, and not worth the cute table settings and the potential of snapping a good picture. Honestly, you might as well go to a home and garden store, take a picture sitting in a random patio chair, and post that to your social media and tell everyone you had some super expensive brunch.

I make an exception though for my general distain towards brunch for special occasions. I had a good friend come visit me the other day whom I haven’t seen since Thanksgiving owing to us living in different parts of the state and going to different schools, and so brunch seemed warranted.

So why are there no trendy brunch photos in this blog? Well…after spending the money and finding the cute table, we forgot to take any pictures! I guess trendy brunch pictures are just not meant to be for me, at least not today.

The more optimistic way of looking at it is that we were enjoying each other’s company so much, we didn’t feel the need to take a photo to prove to people on social media that we went out and socialized. Imagine that — not taking photos to post to social media when you go out and do something. What a novel concept.

After brunch, it was only fitting that we went out and did more trendy things. We got popsicles, walked around an upscale outdoor mall, and — the most trendy of all trendy things — went to a plant nursery to buy succulents for our mason jars. Just give me my own Good Housekeeping editorial shot already, I’ve gone mainstream.

Again though, I don’t really have many photos of the various things we did together. And I’m okay with that. Taking photos all the time can be taxing, to the point that it hinders one’s ability to actually enjoy what’s going on.

You won’t catch me going off the grid any time soon, though. I enjoy living my social media life of fabricated perfection too much.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: AMIClubwear

Top: Altar’d State

June 2, 2018 – Closure (OOTD #296)

This is it — two years after I wrote my very first blog ever on a real estate team’s website about the Red River Gorge area in Kentucky, I finally get to visit it.

Summer, 2016. 17-year old Meilin was beginning her second job (the first one being a grocery bagger at Kroger when I was 16) at a real estate company as their blogger. The idea was that by writing blogs about local events in Central Kentucky, I could draw more traffic to the site, and by extension, more clients to the realtors.

On my first day, my boss suggested I try a blog about the Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge national forest area in Kentucky. I didn’t really know much about the area, but I did some research (thank you, TripAdvisor) and came up with the “Top 5 Things To Do In Red River Gorge In June.” It wasn’t revolutionary, but it was well(ish) written, and was my first experience realizing that I liked blogging.

I’d link to it, but sadly, since I left, most of my old blogs were purged from the website. It’s okay, you’re not missing much.

Despite writing my first blog over Red River Gorge, at the time of writing it, I had no memory of ever being there. I knew it existed, and I knew I had gone before as a little kid, but that was the extent of my knowledge. Any memories I had of actually being at the Gorge were hazy and faded. After completing the blog though, I decided to put it on my list of things to do while in Kentucky — a list that’s admittedly not super long.

Anyway, I ended up going to the Gorge hiking trails last summer with my dad, but on our trip, we never made it to Natural Bridge, which is arguably the main attraction to the whole national forest area.

Finally though, two years later, I got to see it with Amanda! Or at least, got to see it as an adult who could actually remember the experience instead of a child who was bitter that her parents were forcing her to go out and hike instead of sitting in the car and play video games, which is pretty much what happened the last time I was at Natural Bridge.

And now that I have my closure, consider this blog closed. Bye!

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: ASOS

Shorts: Francesca’s