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!

 

 

March 7, 2019 – Out of My League (OOTD #467)

I’m not really a baseball hat person, but I’m willing to reconsider.

For one, I’ve never played baseball in my entire life. No, I’m not kidding — I’ve just literally never played it, not even in gym class.

Softball, sure — once or twice in high school P.E. Kickball, absolutely — all through elementary, middle, and high school. I actually twisted my ankle once playing kickball, and I hate it now for it. But baseball, with an actual baseball and a baseball bat and a full team — nope.

I imagine though that a lot of women are in the same place as me. Girls typically play on softball teams, and it’s softball that’s taught in gym class. Baseball is a sport you really have to seek out. Given how much specific equipment is needed for a game, at least in comparison to other games that kids like to play, like basketball or soccer, for me growing up, baseball was a rare game to see played outside of actual Little League teams.

And you know what? I really don’t regret it. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything in my childhood or my experience of American culture by having not played baseball. I played softball once or twice, and I hated that (nothing ever happens! You spend the majority of your time either sitting in the dugout or standing in the outfield!), so I can’t imagine that baseball would truly be any different.

So I feel kind of fake whenever I wear a baseball hat, which is funny, because I don’t have the same experience when I wear a football jersey or a military jacket. Baseball hats feel somehow different though, and I’m not sure why.

This isn’t even my own baseball hat. It’s my friend, Lan Anh’s. Ironically, she never wears baseball hats either, despite owning many. Perhaps she shares my baseball hat complex.

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: Lan Anh’s closet

Hat: Also Lan Anh’s closet (thanks Lan Anh)

Jeans: J. Crew (thrifted, Clothes Mentor)

March 6, 2019 – By The Lockers (OOTD #466)

Oh look, I’m two months behind now.

Will my blog ever get caught back up again? Maybe not, as long as I’m a stressed college student trying to balance her multitude of assignments that for some reason, all seem to be due at the same time. I’m normally pretty good for a few weeks at a time, and then school life hits me like a truck and I find that that’s all I can focus on for a period.

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everyone needs a turquoise blazer

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But it’s finally Easter break, and so I have a little time to relax. A little. Easter falls late in the academic year this year, and so once school is back in session on Tuesday, we have only two weeks left of class before finals. The school year’s almost over. I’m almost a junior; I can’t believe it.

These pictures go so far back that they were taken before spring break, which fell in mid-March. Funnily, I think I was in basically the same headspace back in early March as I am now in late-April. The time right before spring break and right before Easter break tends to be super busy, and so I’m not uncomfortable saying that the Meilin of March 5 isn’t really all that different from the one of April 21 — which is to say, they’re both kind of tired and in need of a break.

Not to jinx things (knock on wood), but I’m hoping I won’t have an awful finals week this year. Last spring finals week was pretty painful (I spent nine hours in a basement one day, it was awful). This time, though, it looks like the weeks leading up to finals will be awful, but then actual finals week itself will be okay. I only have one final to sit for and a short reflection paper due during that actual week; here’s to hoping that that means my suffering will be over relatively soon.

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: Banana Republic

Blouse: Anthropologie

Skirt: Abercrombie

March 5, 2019 – Sporty (OOTD #465)

What’s up with the recent sports-themed posts on this blog?

I swear, I’m not going through a sports phase, or anything of the sort. This isn’t going to transform into a health blog all of a sudden. I think it’s just been a coincidence.

Ironically, for how sporty this outfit looks, it would actually be horrible to work out in. The shirt I think it like a boys’ medium, so it’s a little tight around my neck and and my chest. And the skirt is…well, a skirt. You can’t really do much in those.

I mean, that’s how athleisure works, though, right? It’s supposedly able to be worn either to the gym or in casual life — but I’m pretty sure that’s not what happens 90% of the time. I have leggings that look sporty, but that I definitely wouldn’t actually work out in.

You’ll also notice that I’m bringing the yellow motif back again! I’m serious about trying to get more yellow into my wardrobe. After my realization that I can actually wear yellow — after years of thinking I couldn’t — I’ve been making an effort to wear it more now. I think this outfit accomplishes that goal, no?

Though the astute observer will notice that something’s off — the three yellows I’m wearing are all different shades! I think they’re far enough apart that they don’t clash, so I let it slide. Ideally, however I probably would not have worn three different versions of yellow.

This is also an example of The Formula 2.0 — the basic skirt-blouse combination that I seem to be favoring a lot recently. I guess this shirt doesn’t really qualify as a blouse, but I think it fits the pattern anyway. I’m getting really predictable now, aren’t I? I have a signature color and a go-to outfit configuration. Next, you’ll be able to predict where I take my photos or what my hair will look like.

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: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Skirt: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Boots: Ralph Lauren

March 3, 2019 – Il Fait Froid (OOTD #464)

I’m not going to sit here and complain about the cold — I know it’s annoying — but I will say once that it was snowing while I was taking these photos, and I was not happy about it.

For as cold and windy as winter can be in South Bend, the one good thing is that it makes the spring all the more pleasant. When the snow finally melts and the temperature peaks above 32 degrees, it feels like heaven on Earth. They’ve planted the tulip bulbs on God Quad now; the shoots are just beginning to come up through the soil. I can’t wait.

I think what I miss most during the winter is the plant life. Everything can be so grey and dull during the winter — it’s not really that I miss the sun so much, but that I miss the color. You can kind of see it in these pictures. The grass is visible, but it’s far from vibrant.

I never thought spring fever was real until I went to the Midwest. I used to feel sad when the winter ended; it meant no more snow days and that I’d have to go to school every day until the end of the year (that was, until my senior year, when I started leaving early). Now, I have to go to class every day regardless of the weather (except for that one time this year when windchill hit -45 degrees), so there’s no reason to hope for the winter to drag on. Spring means spring break, Easter, and plants. That’s all I want anymore.

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: Thrifted

Sweater: Forever21

Jeans: Hot Topic

 

March 2, 2019 – Markets and Mixups (#463)

It’s been nearly a year since I last went to the South Bend Farmers’ Market.

It’s honestly one of my favorite places to go in South Bend. I mean, farmers’ markets in general are cool, and though I don’t have a lot of other ones that I’ve been to to compare it to, but I think the South Bend Farmers’ Market is something special. For one, it has its own little building by the river, and so vendors are able to actually have permanent booths and displays year-round.

It also feels more like a flea market more than a farmers’ market — and that’s a good thing! I like flea markets. There are vendors who sell more than just produce — they have vintage books, houseplants, homemade jewelry, and eclectic goods of that nature. It’s my favorite kind of market (excepting, perhaps, a vintage market or an art fair).

Unfortunately, I don’t get to go often. It’s not really within walking or biking distance to campus (and let’s be honest — campus is basically the only thing in walking distance to campus), and so I only ever go when someone else drives me. It was Dads’ Weekend for my dorm, and so one of my friends’ dads offered to take anyone who wanted to go to the market one Saturday morning. Of course, I jumped on the opportunity. Any chance I get to leave campus (especially with an adult who will pay for my food), I take.

img_3651

Now, I don’t really feel any deep resentment for what I’m about to describe next — I’m sure my friend’s dad didn’t mean to do it. Granted, I don’t think people typically mean to do it, unless they’re purposefully trying to be assholes, but I haven’t really had to deal with that since my 9th grade Civics teacher, who was all kinds of problematic anyway. Nonetheless, it gets under my skin.

While we were loitering around, waiting for my friend to finish looking at a display of organic tea, he asked me how I liked Vietnam.

In case anyone here doesn’t know, I’m not from Vietnam. I’m from China, actually but my other Asian roommate, Lan Anh, is Vietnamese. He’d confused the two of us, something that seems to happen quite often. You can see Lan Anh in this batch of pictures, so you can decide if we really look a like or not, but I’m of the opinion that we don’t. Not enough to justify people constantly confusing us.

For one, she has dark hair and mine is bleach blonde. Like, you’d think that would make things easy for people. How many blonde Asians do you see a day?

What made the difference for me with my friend’s dad — why I’m perturbed but not really with him directly — was how apologetic he was afterwards. I could tell he felt badly, and that he recognized why his mistaking me for Lan Anh implied more than just that he was bad with names. I mind that he confused us, of course — I’m really tired of the all Asians look the same thing — but I appreciate that he was able to acknowledge his mistake. That’s all I want out of people . It’s okay if someone confuses Asian faces or names once or twice — we’re a minority, and people will be less attuned to facial differences if they don’t see us much — but I hope that they make an effort to do better afterwards. There are people I’ve known who have never bothered with that second step — with doing better after they make the initial mistake — and that’s what’s discouraging.

On a side note, I saw Pete Buttigieg and his husband at the breakfast café we went to. I didn’t go up and say hi because I didn’t want to bother him, but it’s cool to see a presidential candidate out and about living life like a normal person.

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: Forever21

Jacket: Hollister

Skirt: J. Crew (thrifted)

March 1, 2019 – Getcha Head in the Game (OOTD #462)

Up next in Meilin Uses Sports for an Aesthetic Rather Than their Actual Purpose: basketball!

I had a basketball phase very briefly as a kid. I never played it on an actual team, and so I never learned the actual rules (beyond, you know, get the ball in the hoop) but i would play it a lot on the playground with my friends. I think it was just because of the games you could play with the balls that my school had — basically, basketball or soccer (and maybe football?) — basketball was easier for seven year-old-me with literally zero athletic ability to pick up.

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he did what ???

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I could dribble a ball, I could throw it in the general direction of other people. What else is there to basketball?

Apparently, as I found out later in life, there’s a lot more to basketball. The few times I’ve actually had to play basketball according to the proper rules during gym class, I’ve been terrible at it. I didn’t like the people getting in my personal space and waving their smelly arms, and I didn’t like how physically aggressive you had to be in order to actually take the ball from someone. I like my sports without physical aggression.

Basketball is third behind maybe volleyball and kickball in the List of Sports I Have Found That I Am Bad At. This list doesn’t include sports that I’m pretty certain I would be bad at without even trying them — like lacrosse or ice hockey.

Anyway, though I lack any natural affinity for physical activity, I’ve found I like the aesthetic of sports. There’s something edgy about an empty tennis or basketball court.

Is it offensive to people who actually play these sports to reduce them to just their aesthetic for a cute picture? Am I appropriating athlete culture? If so, I apologize. I’m sorry I can’t actually play basketball and I don’t really care to learn how at this point in my life. If it makes me inauthentic to stand in a basketball court and use it for fashion photography, then I guess I’m fake.

I am also wearing a beret and I’m not French. I seem to be doing poorly at the whole authenticity thing.

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!


Blouse: Forever21

Trousers: American Eagle

Beret: A tree on North Quad (I’m not kidding — I found this hat frozen to a tree branch on campus. It looked like it needed a home, so pried it off the tree, washed it, and it’s mine now)

 

 

 

February 25, 2019 – Classic Meilin (OOTD #461)

Time is passing, and I think my signature outfit is beginning to change.

A year or two ago, I would have told you that my go-to outfit is a jacket, a sweater, leggings/skinny jeans, and my black ankle boots. That was basically what I lived in in high school — in fact, I even have a tag on this blog called “the formula” where I sorted all of the examples of outfits that fit this pattern. I wasn’t always very good at keeping up with all of my outfits that actually fit the formula and tagging them, but you can get an idea of what they looked like.

But I’m getting older and styles are changing. I think the formula is changing too — we’ll call it the formula 2.0, I guess. More and more often, I’m finding that my go-to outfit is a skirt and a blouse — maybe with a jacket thrown on top for good measure. You can see a prime example of this kind of outfit here.

It’s just so easy to pair a skirt and a blouse — and with the weather warming up (ever so slightly), it makes it an even more appealing option. Plus, wearing a skirt looks dressier than my old leggings/skinny jeans vibe — and I like looking dressy.

I think I’m going to keep an eye out for more skirts soon. I haven’t really been huge into skirts since middle school, so I don’t really have that many (at least, in compared to my other categories of clothing).

Back in my Justice/Abercrombie Kids phases, I was huge into skirts. I think it goes way back to third grade, when we had a pioneer school history unit where we had to come to school dressed like it was the 19th century for a month. Okay, we didn’t have to do it for a whole month — only the first and last days of the unit — but I chose to do it for the whole month because I loved wearing dresses and skirts and pretending I lived in Little House on the Prairie times.

Hm, history and fashion — I wonder when those two things would pop up again in my life?

Anyway, for a few years after my Apple Valley School days, I continued wearing skirts a lot — first, in the form of sequin-covered tutus from Justice, and then, in the form of floral skirts with those elastic waistbands (remember when those were huge?) from Abercrombie and Hollister. Then, I kind-of got bored of them. Wearing skirts from ages 8-12 will exhaust you. By the time high school hit, I was ready to embrace Victoria’s Secret yoga leggings along with the rest of young women from 2014.

But I think I’m ready to go back to wearing skirts more often again. It’s been a long time.

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: Zara

Skirt: Zara