March 16, 2019 – Hobby Lobby Challenge (OOTD #473)

Do you remember back a few years ago when the Hobby Lobby Challenge was a thing?

No, it didn’t involve trying to eat something super spicy or otherwise inedible. As Internet “challenges” go, it was actually pretty tame — the point was just to go to a Hobby Lobby and take artsy photos in the floral department. No habanero peppers or Tide Pods required.

I’m not sure my photos quite turned out as professional-looking as the ones that inspired the original hashtag, but I’m happy with how they turned out anyway. They were very spur-of-the-moment pictures — just the sort of thing where I was passing the artificial flowers with my dad while we happened to be in Hobby Lobby, and I asked him to snap some pictures. Thanks Dad.

(This jacket was actually originally his too. So double-thanks, Dad)

One day, I need to go back with a portable circle light and take some really artsy Hobby Lobby floral department photos. I really like how these turned out, and they only took about five minutes to take. Imagine how they’d turn out if we’d had a chance to really get the arrangement and lighting right.

I didn’t even get any funny looks from the Hobby Lobby employees! Maybe they were already pretty used to young Instagrammers trying the Hobby Lobby Challenge. Or maybe they weren’t paid enough to care what was going on in their store — back in my Kroger days, that definitely would have been the case for me.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life. 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: Levi’s (thrifted)

Sweater: Abercrombie

Jeans: American Eagle

March 15, 2019 – Axe Crazy (OOTD #472)

It’s not every day that you get to try axe-throwing.

It’s admittedly not something that I even knew was a thing until I went with my dad and his fellow psychologist friends. They were going on an afternoon team-building outing, and I had nothing better to do with the Friday of my spring break, so I tagged along.

Surprise, surprise: I was really bad at it.

Though to be fair, I wasn’t the worst in the group. There were a few people there whom I managed to get more points than. In general, though, I struggled to get the axe to actually sink into the target — I could get it to hit in the right place and with the right force, but the rotation was difficult to master.

Nonetheless, it was really fun! It wasn’t something that I felt that I had to be good at to actually enjoy. Everyone there was learning, so it wasn’t embarrassing that I missed the target on the vast majority of axes that I threw. Unlike, say, ice skating. which I feel that you actually have to have some degree of skill in order to enjoy, axe-throwing can be enjoyed even as a complete novice. There’s something inherently powerful about chucking a sharp object that you can take pleasure in without needing to hit the target.

Naturally, of course, my father not only beat my score, but he beat the rest of the group. He’s talented with random skills like that — axe-throwing, paper napkin football, packing suitcases into car trunks.

But hey, I got some cute photos of myself dressed in my dragon scale viking top holding an axe, so I had fun.

I’m going to include this last photo here because it likely won’t be included in this blog at any other time, and so it only makes sense to place it here, even though it has nothing to do with axe-throwing. After my father and I finished our axe-throwing escapades, I went to an arcade with my friend, Zach. Most of my photos were too dark to warrant posting to Instagram, but I liked the hazy, nostalgic vibe of this one.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life. 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: Unknown (gifted)

Skirt: Unknown (gifted)

March 14, 2019 – NYC, 5th Avenue, Juicy Couture (OOTD #471)

What’s the oldest article of clothing in your closet?

A few months ago, I would’ve told you it was this long blue wool dress coat. I just recently gave it away, but I’d had it since I was literally in second or third grade. My mother bought it for me used at a garage sale from a friend with the intention that I’d grow into it, so I didn’t really begin wearing it until fifth grade.

Like I said, I only recently gave it away, and more because it was getting ratty-looking than because it didn’t fit. It was getting a touch small in the sleeves, though, admittedly. I honestly probably would have kept it if not for the fact that I own plenty of coats at this point and I shouldn’t keep accumulating them if I’m not at least getting rid of some old things — e.g., a coat I’d had since I was 8 years old.

The point being, I suppose, that I’m basically the same size as I was in fifth grade. Also that Marie Kondo would hate me.

This plaid blue blue coat (unrelated to the long blue wool dress coat mentioned above) is now probably the oldest item in my wardrobe, but I’m much less willing to part with it. I got it during my first trip ever to New York City from the Juicy Couture store on 5th Avenue. Those three phrases — New York City, 5th Avenue, Juicy Couture — were hugely important to me in 5th grade when I got this coat. They represented the height of fashion at that time, and so receiving this coat as a gift from my parents was a big deal.

And for something that was purchased literally 10 years ago, I think it still looks pretty good. Unlike most of the rest of my 5th grade wardrobe — including Victoria’s Secret PINK yoga pants, Abercrombie t-shirts, and Justice camisoles — it’s stood the test of time.

It is also, admittedly, a little small in the sleeves at this point. We’ll see how much longer it lasts before I’m guilted into getting rid of it to make way for new clothes. But for now, it still “sparks joy,” as Marie Kondo would say.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life. 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!


Coat: Juicy Couture

Dress: Altar’d State

 

March 13, 2019 – Pegasister (OOTD #470)

Pegasister (noun): Like a brony, but instead of a grown man who likes My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, it’s a grown woman.

Allow me to preface this post with this disclaimer — I do not consider myself a Pegasister. I watched the show a lot when I was younger, like middle school-high school age, but not so much anymore. I have never gone to a My Little Pony con, dressed up like a character, or written fan fiction.

That all said, it’s still a really cute show. They do a clever job of subverting a lot of tropes of stereotypically “feminine” shows, while still allowing the show to cater to a young female audience. As children’s programming goes, I think it’s really excellent. It’s the sort of thing I can put on in the background while I’m studying or exercising and just zone out.

Anyway, I bring it up because, of course, this outfit includes a My Little Pony shirt. It’s something cheap I found at Forever21 (or to be more specific, I found and then my parents purchased for me for Christmas). I like it because it plays into a cute 80s retro vibe, while still being a franchise that I genuinely like.

I’ll admit, I do own some clothes for franchises I’m not really that into, just because I like the aesthetic. I’ve got a Pink Floyd tank top despite only really only knowing a few songs, a Nintendo 64 sweater despite never played owned one (though I’ve played ports of N64 titles on other consoles, and Attack on Titan t-shirt despite having never finished the series. Call me a fake fan.

Like I said, though, while I’m not that into the series anymore, I do still like the franchise. It was a big part of my childhood, and to it I owe, in part, my continued interest in fashion. One of the main characters, Rarity, served as the stereotypical fashion-obsessed “girly-girl” of the group, but she was written in an empowering intelligent way. She was a small-business owner and designer, and her character arcs depicted some of the difficulties as a creator of trying to commodify creativity. It’s something that really stuck with me.

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: Adidas (thrifted, Goodwill)

Top: Forever21

Shorts: H&M

 

 

March 10, 2019 – Grocery Store Florist (OOTD #469)

A long, long time ago, I applied for a job at this grocery store florist. They didn’t hire me.

It amazes me sometimes how sixteen year-old kids go out and find jobs sometimes, and that’s coming from someone who was once a sixteen year-old kid who found a job.

My first job was actually at the same grocery store chain as this florist, though I worked at a different location. I was a bagger/cart-getter/bathroom-cleaner. It wasn’t a fun job.

I won’t mention the name of the grocery store chain in case one day I want to try to get a job in their corporate department (or alternatively, after I drop out of school and all that’s left for me is to go back and try to get a job as a bagger), so let’s call it something totally made-up — like Shmoger. 

I applied for a lot of jobs the summer I was 16 — none of which I got interviews for except this one at Shmoger. That’s the worst part about applying for jobs — the fact that no one seems to want to message you to let you know the status of your application. At least with university applications, you can get rejected from every school you apply to, but they properly reject you. They give you a date they’ll have their decision by, and then they tell you their decision on that date. With jobs, they just ghost you, like a bad Tinder match.

The Shmoger I worked at was going through some renovations when I began working there, and I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason they hired me. I had no real experience (not even babysitting) and no references besides my parents, so they must have been desperate.

The funny thing is, I didn’t really even want the job that badly. I just took it because I figured that’s what you’re supposed to do when you turn 16. Now that I’m at a wealthy university and have wealthy friends, I realize that that’s not the case for people with money and connections, but at the time, pretty much everyone I knew had a crappy job in retail or food or service.

Looking back, I do appreciate the perspective that my crappy barely-above-minimum wage job offered me about the world — how hard it is to get a job if you don’t have a lot of experience or connections or education, how entitled both customers and fellow employees can be, how exhausting it is to do (even slightly) labor-intensive work , how difficult it is to make any actual money working minimum wage and barely getting any hours because you’ve just stared. It helped me to recognize how privileged I am to not have to work jobs like that in order to get by, and how difficult it is to move past that situation if that’s where you’re presently stuck. I ultimately ended up quitting when my junior year began (one of the only things I’ve truly quit for the last several years) because it was too much to do on top of schoolwork. Ironically, I quit the weekend before the big reopening after the renovations were all finished — something for which my boss yelled at me when I sent in my resignation via text.

I can’t imagine trying to work a spiritually and financially thankless job like that while trying to get the education required to get a better job. Getting an education can be spiritually and financially thankless enough on its own sometimes.

I think my second-most important realization at my Shmoger job was how horrible people are who leave their grocery carts out in the middle of the parking lot, especially at night. Please bring them to the corral — or better yet, back up to the front of the store! Some poor kid on cart-duty will thank you.

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: Forever21

Jacket: Thrifted (Clothes Mentor)

Skirt: Hollister

Shoes: Target

March 9, 2019 – A Slytherin in Cincinnati (OOTD #468)

A big shout out to Cincinnati for being grey and rainy the day I wanted to take pictures of its skyline.

I don’t go into Cincinnati much, despite the fact that it’s the closest (major?) city to me in Lexington, beside Louisville. I actually go into Louisville way more, as my grandmother lives there and it’s where I grew up. Cincinnati is just a place that sort-of exists on the edge of my consciousness, one of those places I recognize exists but I hardly ever think about it.

One of my best friends, Jane, actually lives in Cincinnati, though, so it’s slowly becoming more relevant to me. I stopped by her apartment to visit last winter after I came home from Qatar/France, though unfortunately, I was too sick to really do anything. All I really felt well enough to do when I visited her last was lay in bed and sleep, so I wanted to make it up to her with another short visit.

As it turned out, on my way back to Lexington from Notre Dame, my flight went through Cincinnati. Instead of just driving home after I got in, my parents and I decided to meet my friend for lunch.

I still want to go back and visit Jane properly again sometime so we can actually spend more than an hour together while I’m not spaced out on cold medicine. Maybe I’ll visit her this summer, if I’m able to make space between my various travel experiences — and if I’m not too exhausted in the space between my various travel experiences.

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!


Hat and Scarf: Harry Potter store

Jacket: Vintage (thrifted, Foxhouse Vintage)

Sweater: American Eagle

Jeans: Abercrombie (thrifted)

 

REVIEW: L’Oreal EverPure Repair & Defend Hair Care

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Hey look, it’s another Influenster VoxBox review.

Influenster seems to like sending me haircare products. I’m pretty sure that one of the very first products they ever sent me back when I first signed up was some purple hair dye from Clairol. Maybe they recognize how damaged it is after I bleached the hell out of it in high school. And then again right before sophomore year of college.

I’ve written extensively on my life as a blonde Asian, but a huge part of that life is trying to keep my hair from falling out again like it did at the beginning of freshman year, resulting in a pixie cut that made me look like Arya Stark when she was masquerading as a boy. I’m still trying to grow my hair back again. I’m glad that phase of my life is over — in terms of hair, I consider myself more of a Daenerys than an Arya.

Now that I’m in the process of growing my hair back again, while maintaining the bleach blonde color, I’m on the constant lookout for products that will both keep my hair healthy and protect its color. The L’Oreal EverPure Repair and Defend shampoo and conditioner set promises to do just that.

So after testing it out for a few weeks, do I think it lives up to its promises?

Eh…well enough, I guess. Ultimately, I don’t think I’ll be making a permanent switch of my normal routine of Clairol Shimmer Lights and Aussie Three Minute Miracle.

The thing is, with my bleach blonde hair, I don’t need my shampoo to “lock in” the color of a dye that’s been put on top of my hair; I need it to add a toning shade to prevent it from getting brassy. I don’t actually dye my hair — that is, I don’t put dye on top of it. I bleach it, and then I tone it, which is a different from dyeing.

I think this product is meant to prevent dye from fading, which is not something I struggle with because my hair has not been dyed. That’s why I like the Clairol Shimmer Lights shampoo — it’s a deep purple, so when I layer it on top of my base color of a yellowish bleach blonde color, it neutralizes the yellows and makes it look like a more natural ash blonde. Complimentary colors and all that jazz.

The conditioner is alright, but nothing special. I do find that my hair seems to be getting greasier faster than usual in the time I’ve been using this product, but that could also be the change of season. I do find it questionable though that a regular conditioner that’s meant for daily use makes my hair greasier faster than the deep conditioner I normally use; it seems like if anything, the L’Oreal conditioner should be lighter and make my hair less greasy than the Aussie one.

I appreciate that I had the chance to try these products, and maybe they could work for someone with different hair. Like I said, if you actually dye your hair and want to prevent fading, then perhaps this product is for you. But for me, whose concerns are not so much fading but rather toning, I just don’t think I was the right person this time. Sorry Influenster.

Have you tried the any of these products? Or do you have any suggestions for your favorite shampoos and conditioners for color-damaged hair? Let me know your thoughts below!

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!