August 20, 2018 – A Tropical Paradise (OOTD #352)

Haha, just kidding. This is South Bend. It’s about as far from a tropical paradise as it gets. So even though my dress looks vaguely as though it could fit in in a sunny beach setting, it’s not South Bend where I’m going to find it.

For one, for a solid 60% of the year, it’s below freezing, and there’s probably snow on the ground. And when it’s not below freezing — like now, in the summer — it’s probably miserably hot and humid.

Take this day for example! It was cloudy but hot, and the humidity made going outside more like going for a swim. And indeed, it did end up raining for quite a bit, so even if I never got a real swim in, by the time I came back inside, I looked like I had.

Anyway, I found a new location for photos at Notre Dame — the Rockne athletic center, also known as the Rock. Most students don’t really bother going anymore now that the new gym has been built in the Duncan Student Center, so I didn’t have to worry much about foot traffic getting in the way of my photo shoot. It also helps that it’s sort of out of the way at the very end of South Quad.

I’m going to be trying my best to get photos this year that aren’t just rehashes of the same locations that I used for all of my photos last year — the door of South Dining Hall, the arches of Howard, the steps of Bond.  Hopefully, I may even get to do some photos in locations other than campus because hopefully, I’ll get off campus more often — now won’t that be wild!

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, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Dress: Unknown (gifted by a friend)

August 19, 2018 – Sophomore Superiority (OOTD #351)

And so life at Notre Dame continues.

The freshman are all here, so campus is beginning to feel a bit more lively — though still not quite like home. I don’t know, there’s something about a bunch of teenagers in matching t-shirts being herded around by Welcome Weekend ambassadors that just prevents campus from really feeling normal yet. I feel like I’m at summer camp, but I’m not a camper, and I’m not a camp counselor — just someone who happens to be there at the same time.

I’ve spent my last few days here just chilling and catching up on my blog-writing, and honestly, it’s been really nice. Notre Dame’s a totally different beast when I’m not stressing out about schoolwork or football games or dorm parties. While I’m excited for football season to begin and for my friends to all get here, I’m also glad I have this time to relax.

It’s also kind-of nice to watch all the freshman running around from one Welcome Weekend activity to another, and be able to acknowledge with satisfaction how glad I am that that’s not me. If you read any of my Welcome Weekend blogs from last year, you’ll know — I wasn’t really a fan of the whole experience. They do their best to make it fun and as not-scary as possible, but it’s nonetheless an overwhelming experience.

It’s fine though, because I’ll never really have to do it again. This may sound silly, but it was with triumph that I wore this simple outfit — just a dress with a jacket — because it set me apart from all the freshmen in their matching dorm shirts suffering through Welcome Weekend. There’s uh…nothing like realizing how bad other people have it to make you feel better about yourself.

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 home in Kentucky. 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: Anthropologie

Dress: Forever21

August 18, 2018 – Not Quite An Ivy League (OOTD #350)

Day 374: the locals are getting suspicious. I believe they’re beginning to realize that i am not, in fact, a piece of ivy.

There’s nothing like sitting yourself down in a patch of ivy in the math building’s courtyard for the sake of your fashion blog. Thankfully, there were no classes going on, so I was at little risk of getting “caught” taking photos by myself, but it was still a little awkward, nonetheless.

If there’s anything this blog has taught me, it’s how to ignore how awkward it feels taking pictures in public. Here’s my secret: I just don’t think about it.

I know, that’s horrible advice — just don’t be nervous, and you won’t have anxiety! Just don’t be sad, and you won’t have depression! In this case, though, and probably this case only, it works for me. If I can ignore how uncomfortable I feel by focusing on acting like I’m confident and self-assured taking photos in public, I find that my actual anxiety lowers as a result.

But in general, what I like best is taking photos away from the curious (sometimes judgmental) glances of strangers. That’s why this ivy garden worked so well. It was just me and the plants, and as you know, I love me some plants. 

In an ideal world, humanity would have somehow developed a technology to make plants sentient, and I’d just have the plants take pictures for me instead of people. I guess if the plants were sentient then they could still be judgmental…I guess this plan’s a bit flawed.

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 home in Kentucky. 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: thrifted

Top: thrifted

Shorts: Forever21

August 17, 2018 – Club Hes (OOTD #349)

Up next in Meilin’s collection of glamorous photo shoot locations: the thirteenth floor of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library!

Now that my parents are gone and they’ve stranded me in the middle of a Northern Indiana cornfield (gotta love South Bend), my photo locations are more limited. Gone are the days of going to downtown everyday for lunch — even though I only got to do it for two days while my parents were here helping me to move in, I’m going to miss it.

I’ve not quite gotten into the habit of asking my friends to take pictures for me, and besides, a lot of them haven’t moved in yet or otherwise are busy with Welcome Weekend activities or band camp. Since I was on my own, I figured I’d go off to the library and do some work and take some pictures.

I have a mixed relationship with the library. I have some fond memories of going my first semester last year and finding some much-needed solitude and quiet in the upper floors, but I also have some downright miserable memories of feeling isolated and alone late at night. One of the weirdest things is taking a desk somewhere in the upper floors where you can’t see a window, and then emerging in the evening to find that the sun has gone down and everyone’s gone to bed. Time kind of stops from floors seven and up.

Very rarely do I ever get the entire floor of the library to myself. Typically, if I’m in Hesburgh Library — also known as Club Hes — and I’m by myself, it means that it’s some inhumanely late hour of the night, and I may or may not only be there so late because I accidentally took a nap at my desk at some point. But since very few people had moved in yet, and because even those who have had no reason to be studying in the library, I got a coveted window seat all to myself.

So naturally, I put it to good use — as a perfect location for some well-lit selfies.

I think I got some actual work done as well, but it was mostly just photography. That’s work too, right? Sort-of?

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 home in Kentucky. 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: thrifted

Pants: American Eagle

Scarf: American Eagle

August 16, 2018 – Stereotypical College Partygoer (OOTD #348)

Welp, I caved and I did it: I bought a denim skirt.

While I don’t know if I can link you to a specific example, I know I have written about my disdain for the denim skirt trend before. It’s nothing against the denim skirt as a concept — in fact, I love the look of a denim miniskirt, and the first few times I saw someone wear one last year when the trend had just picked up steam, I was a huge fan. But that’s the problem — the trend picked up steam, and a lot of it. Too much of it.

It could also be the fact that I live on a college campus, and I’m surrounded by a bunch of 20-somehting females who want something cute (read: sexy) but simple to wear when they’re going out to parties. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; people can do what they want while wearing what they want. I just get tired of seeing the same outfits over and over again.

Here’s how to make an outfit for going out in if you’re a Notre Dame girl: combine a denim skirt, an off-the-shoulder top (a tube top if you’re feeling spicy), a lot of highlighter, and mix with a few Mike’s Hard Lemonades. As a standalone concept, that’s not bad — but every single ND girl seems to wear a similar thing every Friday/Saturday night.

Anyway, I finally caved though and bought myself a denim skirt. While I kind-of resent its overuse as a party staple, like I said, I do like it as a standalone piece. I found it at a local Salvation Army, and for the price, I couldn’t resist. My hope is that I’ll be able to wear it in a more creative way than just with an Urban Outfitters tube top…but we’ll see. No promises — I am a Notre Dame girl after all, and the peer pressure may be too much to resist.

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 home in Kentucky. 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!

Skirt: Thrifted

Top: H&M

Jacket: Hollister (fun fact: I got this on Black Friday all the way back when I was in middle school, and it still fits!)

August 15, 2018 – A Bit Chilli (OOTD #347)

My South Bend adventures continue.

My stuff is pretty much all moved in now, which is a relief. Several of my roommates have yet to finish moving in though, which means there’s still stuff strewn about everywhere. Something tells me that that shall be the perpetual state of the room. I guess that’s what happens when you force six college-aged students to live together in a small space.

I’ve been doing really well with making my bed in the morning, though, so I consider myself well-accomplished.

To salute my final dinner with my parents until they visit in September, we ate at the fine establishment, Chili’s. Maybe it’s something about its romanticization in The Office, or something about how I ate at one in the Detroit airport before being bumped to first class on my flight to London, but Chili’s is my favorite of the sit-down restaurant chains. In a battle of Chili’s, Olive Garden, TGI Friday’s, and Applebee’s, Chili’s will always have my business. #notsponsored.

As it turns out, Chili’s also had a decent color scheme that goes along with my outfit. My hope, of course, is that you didn’t recognize the red and green brick as related to Chili’s until I said something, but I guess a lot of my readers are pretty used to me using restaurants as backgrounds for fashion photography. And empty classrooms, and libraries, and bathrooms

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 home in Kentucky. 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: a boutique in Nepal

Skirt: Zara

August 14, 2018 – Back in the Bend (OOTD #346)

It’s as the title says: I’m back in South Bend!

Being honest, I don’t know if I’d really say I’ve missed it. The Notre Dame-South Bend relationship has probably been one of my least favorite things about studying at Notre Dame, and as much as I love Notre Dame, that’s one complaint I really can’t ignore.

Notre Dame is very much isolated from the South Bend community, and South Bend, honestly, feels rather isolated from the rest of the world. South Bend’s one of those Rust Belt cities that peaked about 50 years ago and has been on a decline ever since, and while you can definitely see some fruits of the attempts to revitalize it, it’s going to be quite a long time until it’s back to its former glory — if it ever gets there.

Notre Dame, on the other hand, is quite the opposite — modern, growing, and, well, very wealthy. The disconnect between the social conditions at ND and in South Bend make it such that I feel like the students have a hard time comprehending the struggles of  the people of South Bend, and the people of South Bend tend to see Notre Dame students as nothing but rich white kids who will leave in four years having done little to contribute to the local community. In fact, Notre Dame, being such a large campus, technically has its own postal code separate from South Bend — which I believe perfectly sums up the dynamic between Notre Dame and South Bend.

Anyway, the Notre Dame-South Bend relationship aside, I have missed a lot of other things about being on campus — my friends, the Starbucks in LaFun, the creepy classrooms of the Riley art building at night. I’m not sure how I feel about classes and the schoolwork bit yet, though. I’m not sure I’m ready to go back to homework.

But I have a few days before I have to start worrying about that, so the next week I can concern myself with getting settled and moved in. And part of that “getting settled” experience, I have decided, should be exploring South Bend a bit — because I don’t want to be one of those Notre Dame kids who leaves in four years with their stupidly expensive diploma without acknowledging the community outside of the Notre Dame bubble.

So after arriving in South Bend in the afternoon, my parents and I did some shopping, got dinner, and walked around the path next to the St. Joseph River. It’s not much, but it’s still more than I did for most of my whole freshman year in South Bend. It’s a start.

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 home in Kentucky. 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: A boutique in Louisville

Shorts:  Francesca’s

August 13, 2018 – Indie GoGo (OOTD #345)

Cities! They’re my weakness.

I suppose it has something to do with the way I’ve never truly lived in a big city — Louisville and Lexington are small to medium-sized cities in their own right, and they have their unique charms, but no one would really describe them as big cities. And that’s okay. But for me, a big city — your New Yorks, your Londons — that’s where it’s at.

So whenever I have an opportunity to visit a new city, get a sense for its character and personality, I take it. The major cities are my favorite, but the secondary cities are cool too. Indianapolis was no different.

This was my first time visiting Indy that I remember properly. I’m certain I’ve driven through it many times, especially on my way up to Notre Dame in  northern Indiana, and I believe I visited the Indy 500 museum once when I was a kid, but I’ve never been there long enough to actually get a feel for it.

And granted, I guess I still haven’t been there long enough to actually get a feel for it —  I was only there for a day trip. I couldn’t tell you what the people of Indianapolis are like, what the city is proud of, or what makes it ugly. I got to see some restaurants and neighborhoods and shops though, and that’s something.

The highlight of the day was easily the Cake Bake Shop in the Broad Ripple neighborhood. My lemonade and my cookie were overpriced (nope, didn’t order cake — it was like, $15), but I suppose it was worth it for the experience inside the restaurant. It’s sort of like Disney World — the rides aren’t worth the cost of admission, but maybe the atmosphere and cute decorations are.

The lowlight of the day was the Indiana State Fair, because it absolutely stole my money. It was $13 for admission, and once we got in, we realized there was nothing to do without spending more money. In an attempt to justify the $13 we paid to get in, we spent another $5 to ride the ferris wheel for two minutes. Our attempts failed.

If something good came out of it, though, I got some cute carnival photos. At least Instagram will think I had more fun than I did. Between you and me, though, you can see the regret of $18 wasted in my eyes.

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 home in Kentucky. 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: Thrifted

Jacket: Thrifted

Shorts: Hollister

August 12, 2018 – Urban Exploration (OOTD #344)

Alternative title: A work in progress.

This is absolutely one of my favorite parts of Lexington.

It’s, once again, one of those old run-down industrial parts of town that’s since become a chic, gentrified district. That’s not to say that gentrification is always a good thing — but sometimes, it’s just nice to see a dilapidated area get an update.

In the case of distillery district, it was once, well, a distillery. Apparently, it had been abandoned for some time, but within the last few years, the whole complex has been updated to include a bunch of different local restaurants (with accordingly gentrified menus and prices, of course).

Not the entire area has been updated yet though, so, after popping by an ice cream shop in the area for a Notre Dame back-to-school event, I got to explore bit.

It’s still not quite the urban exploration experience that makes for popular abandoned buildings tours, but it’s something. I do like a little bit of adventure and the occasional abandoned building, but this is about as close as I’m going to get anytime soon to breaking into a real abandoned building. This was more the small concrete framework of a little house (shack? hut?) about 10 feet away from a popular bar, and an actual abandoned building that I just walked the perimeter of.

The other cool part about walking around an active construction site was that I got to get some pictures with the equipment in the background. There’s nothing like big machinery in the background to make you look like an edgy, urban, hip teen.

And nothing screams “edgy” quite like my purple penny loafers and lacy t-shirt, right? I’m practically Tumblr famous already.

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 home in Kentucky. 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: Thrifted

Shorts: Francesca’s

August 11, 2018 – Danville Days (OOTD #343)

Actually, I guess it was more of a Danville night — I was only around town for dinner.

For those of you who don’t know, Danville’s a small-ish town in Central Kentucky, about an hour south from Lexington, my home. I’ve been a few times, and every time I go, I’m thoroughly impressed by how quiet it is. Take “quiet” with whatever connotation you’d personally like to assign to it: for me though, I find it a bit boring.

In fairness, I went on a Saturday night, and Danville’s not really a Saturday night kind of a place — maybe more of a Sunday morning place, after everyone’s gone to church. We walked around around 7pm, and it was pretty much dead downtown. Perhaps if I’d been there at 11am the next morning, I would have actually gotten to see the little bakeries and coffee shops in operation.

I did get to go into a Goodwill, though, which was a good idea in that I found a cute jacket and a sweater. It’s not really jacket/sweater season but…that never stopped me.

I had dinner with my friend, Amanda’s family, and after that, we drove back to Lexington. On the way back though, we made a brief stop at a little church we saw on the roadside.

There really wasn’t a good reason why we decided to stop at the church: we just thought it looked cute. I know, a little one-room white church in an empty field is hardly a rare sight in Kentucky, but I feel like I never actually stop and look at them, for as many as I pass on the road. It was locked up (and possibly abandoned? Looked pretty dusty in there), but I still got a nice photo or two of it with the sunset in the background. Just feature my work on my own inspirational “Old Kentucky Home” poster, already.

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 home in Kentucky. 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: Free People

Jeans: American Eagle (thrifted)