November 11, 2019 – Georgetown Getaway (OOTD #579)

Georgetown really is a getaway in relation to DC.

It’s the strangest experience. You’re walking along, through the concrete jungle of downtown DC (or is it more of a concrete forest? I’m not sure “jungle” is quite the right word, when you compare it to the proper concrete jungle, New York City), and suddenly, it all disappears — the tall buildings, the streetlights, the concrete sidewalks, all gone. You go over a bridge that reaches over a busy highway, walk past a nature preserve, and suddenly, you’re in the 18th century.

Georgetown reminds me of the more modern parts of Williamsburg. I visited there once as a kid, and I remember it being one of my favorite trips, and honestly probably part of the reason why I became a history major. It was like Disneyworld, but for colonial America. I was like a little girl seeing Elsa for the first time, except Elsa for me was a lady in an 18th century dress churning butter.

Georgetown feels worlds away from downtown DC, and yet it’s literally just a footbridge away from the main city. It’s got colorful little buildings, brick sidewalks, and narrow paths. It’s also got the Potomac River, which is always a nice view.

I wish its quaint appearance carried over into its shops and restaurants. However, as a consequence of its proximity to Georgetown University and general heritage of a rich white people neighborhood, its shops and restaurants are all rather high-end — as the kids say, boujee. It looks like a neighborhood where you’d find thrift shops and used book stores, but instead, it’s all J. Crew and Kate Spade and Moleskine.

My issues with its gentrified status aside, Georgetown is still a really nice place to walk around. I like bringing guests there because it’s normally a place they haven’t been before and a place they didn’t expect to exist in Washington DC. If you haven’t been, I’d definitely recommend you check it out.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. 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: Express

Coat: A vintage shop in Budapest

November 10, 2019 – Memory, All Alone in the Moonlight (OOTD #578)

The next day of Jane’s visit, we went to the Pentagon City shopping mall.

It was funny; for the first hour we were there, I had this funny feeling that I had been there before. But that couldn’t be — I knew for certain that I had never come this way while I was living in DC, had never even gotten off at the Pentagon City stop. I visited the Pentagon itself, sure, on a class trip earlier that semester, but I simply passed by Pentagon City without so much as a glance.

As we walked around and shopped (including spending $200 on Express clothes for a sponsored Instagram post — thanks, Express!), I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had been there before. There was something about it that looked familiar, but I couldn’t place it.

It wasn’t until I looked up at the ceiling that I realized why I felt like I had been there before — it was because I had, but not during this semester in DC. No, I was here back when I was in 5th grade on a trip with my parents to see New York City and Washington DC. I hadn’t been able to recognize the mall until I glanced upwards and saw the distinctive geometric shape of the four floors reaching up to the glass sky.

Funny how memories like that work —  I wonder how many other times I’ve gotten the feeling that I’ve recognized someone or someplace but I haven’t been able to place them because I was overlooking a particular detail that would have reminded me of who/what they were? There are probably people and places we’ve been that we’ve completely forgotten, that we’ll never be able to remember again on our own unless something triggers the memory — and even then, there may be some memories that can never be triggered again. Like, you can’t disprove that those memories exist because you can’t remember them…but they’re probably there.

There, make that your sequel to Inside Out, Pixar.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. 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: Express

Trousers: Express

Headband: Express

November 9, 2019 – A Long Time Coming (OOTD #577)

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that it took me a while to start having fun in DC.

And that’s true. I spent the first two months doing pretty much nothing but going to work, coming home, going to class, and then repeating the next day. Up until November, I wasn’t really doing anything to take advantage of my residence in DC.

But, as I also mentioned in that earlier blog post, once I did start having fun, I really went for it. Apparently, turning 21 made all the difference.

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About a week after my 21st birthday, my best friend, Jane came and visited. Jane has been a good friend of mine since I was 11 years-old, and she’s the only person I still keep in contact with from my old Louisville days. She and I met through a mutual friend in choir in 6th grade, and, though we weren’t necessarily super close in 6th grade, she somehow wound up as the only person from Louisville who kept up with texting me after I moved to Lexington.

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It’s kind of like my friendship with Amanda — Amanda and I were also not super close in high school when we actually saw each other every day. It was only once we went to university and moved to different cities that we became good friends. Wonder why that happens?

I’m a little surprised Jane hasn’t appeared more on this blog, given how often I go back to Louisville or up to Cincinnati. I guess it’s because I usually only see her for lunch or something short like that, so there’s never really time to take pictures worth making a blog out of. The last time I saw her in person, it was March 2019, and we just got lunch together in Cincinnati as I passed by on my way home for spring break. It was such a short trip, she didn’t even appear in any pictures. Then, I saw her in January 2019, and I was sick as a dog after having come home from Vichy, France — definitely not in any shape to take pictures for a blog.

The last time she actually appeared in pictures on my blog was the summer after I graduated high school. I visited her in Louisville for a few days just two weeks before I began at Notre Dame. We went to the mall, broke into my old elementary school, and ate doughnuts.

This time, Jane came and visited me in Washington DC over Veterans’ Day weekend. I had off from work that Monday, and so we had the whole long weekend to spend together from Friday night to Monday night.

And it was just as much fun as always! It was nice getting to be the hostess for once instead of the guest; I feel like most of the time when I see Jane, it’s me visiting her rather than the other way around because she lives in the more interesting city than I do (no offense, Lexington). Since I was spending the semester in DC, which is, for once, a cool city, I got to take her around to all of the cool places.

On Saturday, we went to the Smithsonian Botanic Gardens, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Wharf. Excluding my first week or two in DC when I went on a couple of back-to-back school trips to the monuments on the Mall, this was my first time in DC actually getting to go around and see some of the touristy sites. It’s funny how, when you live somewhere, you don’t actually get to see some of its famous sites unless you put in extra effort to go to them. The same thing happened to me in Rome over the summer.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. 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: A vintage shop in Budapest

Dress: thrifted (Buffalo Exchange)

November 7, 2019 – Still Emo (OOTD #576)

Now that My Chemical Romance is back, you know what that means: time to break out my old Hot Topic band tees and smear black eyeliner down my cheeks.

I was a teenaged closet emo; I’ve discussed that before on this blog. My Chemical Romance, Panic! At the Disco, and Fall Out Boy were once my favorite bands (and I still like them — even though it’s now more like Brendon! At the Disco and Sell Out Boy). I never went full emo, at least, not in appearance because I went to high school in the mid-late 2010’s and if I tried to come to school wearing an MCR sweatshirt and knee-high Converse I’d be laughed out of the building.

I went to high school in the age where hipsters had replaced the emos as the “cool” counterculture alternative crowd. Emo culture was for the cynical post-9/11 early 2000’s kids; hipster culture was for the cynical anticapitalist Occupy Wall Street 2010’s kids.

I was never a proper hipster: I never knitted my own scarves, brewed my own coffee, or grew my own weed. I bought into the hipster look after it had been appropriated by all of the mall chain boutiques (ironic given how counterculture the original hipster subculture was trying to be) by wearing skater skirts and wide-rimmed glasses.

Like I said, in high school, I was a closeted emo. I wasn’t able to actually go full emo — the closest I came was dyeing my (already black) hair black when I was 17. I wish I had just gone for it though — pierced my eyebrow, gotten a tattoo, blasted my My Chemical Romance albums through the hallways, and beat some people on the head with a croquet mallet à la the “I’m Not Okay” music video.

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

Shirt: Banana Republic

Trousers: Banana Republic (apparently, I was dressed by Banana Republic)

November 3, 2019 – Firsts and Twenty-Firsts (OOTD #575)

The weekend of my twenty-first birthday, I didn’t do much productive.

And that’s not because I spent the entire time drunk. I really didn’t. I went out the night of my actual birthday (which, miraculously, was a Friday night), and the rest of the time, I was mostly sober. I got a mimosa at Sunday brunch just because I could, and otherwise, I was completely tame.

But nonetheless, I didn’t really do anything productive — I didn’t do much homework (not that I had much during my DC semester), I didn’t work on any scholarship applications, I didn’t study for the LSAT. For once, I actually went out and had fun.

It took me until November for me to find friends to really hang out with in DC. The Notre Dame cohort was small; only about 17 people, and for a variety of unimportant reasons, it took me a while to connect with any of them. Despite spending every Thursday together in class for the entirety of September and October, and despite everyone being very friendly to me, it still took two months for me to find my crowd.

The turning point was the weekend of my 21st birthday. I invited everyone out for dinner to celebrate (not just my birthday — there were a few other people whose 21st birthdays were around the same time as mine), and something just clicked. After that, I went out to the Nats parade the following day with some people, and then I went to a café that evening to study with someone, and the following day, I went to brunch with the same group of girls.

If you’ll remember, I had the same thing happen to me in Rome over the summer. I spent several weeks being bored and lonely before I made a solid group of friends to hang out with, and it wasn’t until literally days before it was time for me to leave for good that I made friends with the people I was living with. It seems that I always manage to make friends wherever I go, it just sometimes takes a while.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. 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: Thrift (Goodwill)

Dress: Francesca’s

November 2, 2019 – Go Nats? (OOTD #574)

I’ve never been a baseball person.

Okay, I’ve never really been a sports person at all. Over the years, I’ve developed an appreciation for college and professional football and college basketball, owing to the places I’ve lived and the need to be able to talk about Notre Dame football at Notre Dame and UK Basketball in Lexington.

But I’ve never understood baseball. I’ve been to a game or two, including a professional Mets game in New York City. I’ve watched it on TV. And I just don’t get the appeal.

It’s such a slow game! Whether you’re at home or in the stands, there just isn’t much to see. People only manage to hit the ball and then actually go for a run a small percentage of the time. I can appreciate that there can be enjoyment in a sport even if people aren’t running all over the field all of the time, but…baseball seems to be mostly a game of people standing around.

Apparently, most of the people of Washington DC agree with me. Their team, the Nationals,  won the World Series, but you wouldn’t have known that in the months and even weeks leading up to their win.

Here’s how much Washington DC was not cheering on their baseball team in their games before the World Series: around late October, I began noticing a few people walking around the city with cursive W’s on their red baseball caps. The first person I saw, I thought okay, it’s just a man going to work at Walgreens wearing his Walgreens uniform. The second person I saw, I thought okay, I guess that woman works at Walgreens too. 

It literally took until right before the first game of the World Series for me to realize that the cursive W hats were actually meant to be for the Washington Nationals. How was I supposed to know? There were no signs congratulating the team for making it so far. There were no shops selling Nats merchandise. None of the televisions in office lobbies or drugstores were playing Nats games.

Up until the World Series, the only cursive W logo I knew was Walgreens. Honestly, I think Washington people like Walgreens more than they like the Nats — you can find a Walgreens at every street corner, but you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who’s a serious fan of the Nats.

After they won the World Series, a bunch of people came out in red and white for a parade downtown to celebrate the team, but I seriously question how genuine the majority of the crowd was in their fandom. I’m pretty sure most of the people there at the parade were like me: just there to get dressed up and take advantage of a 60 degree day in autumn. We were all fake fans that day.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. 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: Zara

Blouse: H&M

Skirt: Forever21

October 31, 2019 – Boo (OOTD #573)

I think Halloween may be my second-favorite holiday.

As a kid, that was not really the case. I never disliked Halloween — it was always up there in the top 5 list of Meilin’s favorite holidays — but I wasn’t really enamored by it. I was never a fan of sweets and candy, I was afraid of a lot of the decorations and scary movies, and I thought trying to come up with a costume was stressful.

I much preferred Christmas and Easter and my birthday (yes, I’m going to be a narcissist and call that a holiday) because I got actual presents on those holidays. Halloween, I just got a bunch of candy that I wouldn’t even eat anyway.

Then, as a teenager, when I became too old for trick-or-treating, I got bored with Halloween. Around that time, I also moved cities and schools, and so I had none of my old friends to go to costume parties or haunted houses with. I did eventually make friends by high school, but by then, I was so busy with school and work that I didn’t have time to go to people’s costume parties and haunted houses. And besides, I wasn’t really invited to them anyway. So mostly, I just sat at home and did homework while my parents handed out candy to the neighborhood kids — making Halloween a kind of lame holiday.

As I’ve grown older, though, I’m beginning to learn to appreciate Halloween. For one, the other holidays that I used to really love, like Easter or Valentine’s Day, have become less exciting as I’ve grown older and so are no longer there to compete with Halloween for the top spot.

Secondly, even though I still don’t really go out for parties or get dressed up (and that’s really not because I don’t want to, the timing just doesn’t work out during school), I like to see all the decorations. I like carving pumpkins. I like putting together Halloween-themed outfits.

And that’s what you see here. Unfortunately, I had class Halloween night, so I didn’t have anything to do or anywhere to go for Halloween itself. I didn’t even put together a costume. But my 21st birthday was the following day, so I knew I just had to be patient.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. 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 (thrift, Foxhouse Vintage)

Top: The LOFT (thrift, Goodwill)

Skirt: Vintage (thrift, Street Scene Vintage)

 

October 29, 2019 – Thrown Together (OOTD #572)

Living a fifteen minute walk away from where I work is not a good move for me.

And it’s not necessarily for the reasons you might think. It’s not necessarily because I’m too tempted to stay late at work or come early. It’s not because I want to go to the office on the weekend.

Apparently, it’s because I struggle not to wake up ten minutes before I’m supposed to be at my desk, realize that I’m running late, and then have to throw together an outfit (like this one) and get ready in five minutes so that I’m not more than ten minutes late. The amount of times I got to work at 9:10 instead of 9:00 was rather unfortunate.

See, I think if I lived farther away — you know, like a metro stop or two away — I’d be better at not being late. I say that, and then I think about how often I was 5-10 minutes late to my internship in Rome, when I had to ride the metro for an hour every morning, and then I realize that that’s not at all true.

I’m bad at being on time, I admit it. I’ve been bad at being on time for 20 years, and I’ve not really done much to improve my timelines over the years because I’m not usually more than 5-10 minutes late — that is, in real life.

In my blog posts, I’m a lot later. This outfit was worn in October 2019 and here I am publishing it in January 2020. Oops.

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

Trousers: Donated by a friend

October 28, 2019 – 70s Hollywood Producer (OOTD #571)

Today’s outfit inspiration is 1970s Hollywood — not the glamorous red carpet stars, though, but the behind-the-scenes executive producers.

For goodness’s sake, I’m wearing an ascot. An ascot. I don’t think it gets any more 70s than that.

I’ve become a little bit enamored with the 70s lately. For a while there, I was all about 60s style — the retro patterns, suede skirts, the layered jumpers. I had what was basically a Hairspray phase, but 10 years after the Zac Efron movie (and even more years after the original Broadway musical) came out.

But then, all the 60s stuff became mainstream, and you couldn’t go to Forever21 without seeing fourteen different suede skirts and twelve different denim jumpers in their storefront. The 60s were new and cool in 2017. They had become a little old and tired again by 2019.

The 70s, on the other hand, are on their way up — at least, in my opinion. I like the 70s. They’re like the 60s, but worse — less optimism, more drugs, worse pop music (though better rock), more polyester. If I don’t look like I walked out of an early Scorsese film, what’s the point?

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. 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: Thrift (Goodwill)

Blouse: Banana Republic

Trousers: Thrift (Salvation Army)

October 25, 2019 – To the Library Again (OOTD #570)

I never thought I’d miss Notre Dame’s library.

With its ugly brown cardboard box walls and perpetual scent of moldy paper, I thought I’d never want or need to go back. Sure, I spent most of my waking hours while on campus in the building — but time doesn’t always equal emotional affinity. In fact, I thought given all the time I forced myself to spend in there, the more prepared I would be to leave it for a whole year.

I don’t miss the building itself; I should preface what I’m about to say with that. I do not miss the cardboard box design (Touchdown Jesus literally looks like a cereal mascot on the front of a box, try and convince me I’m wrong), and I don’t miss the uncomfortable wooden chairs and 1970’s elevators.

You know what I do miss, though? The convenience.

Hesburgh Library was about a ten minute walk away from my dorm, and that ten minute walk was just close enough to make it convenient and just distant enough to give me some mental separation from home. When I went there, I could try to convince myself to be productive. I didn’t always succeed, but at least I tried.

In DC, though, I didn’t really have a good go-to library. I went to one of the DC public libraries on my first days in the city, but it was a little too far away to make it into a regular study space. I ended up spending a lot of time at Brookings’s library, but it was too close to home and much too close to work. It was in the exact same building as my cubicle, and that’s never a good thing.

What Brookings Library did have over Hesburgh, though, was windows. And you could open them to get some fresh air! I know Notre Dame is concerned about kids trying to throw themselves off the 13th floor of the library during finals week, but I sure would have appreciated the ability to get some cool night air on the evenings I got stuck there late. I would have also appreciated the ability to throw myself out a 13th floor window during finals week.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. 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: Target

Jacket: Ann Taylor