Monday Musings + Coffee – Long, Short Weekend

Huh, somehow, I wound up doing another Musings + Coffee post on a Monday.

This weekend has been crazy, so you’ll have to excuse my lack of blogging. In the last 72 hours, I have experienced — in no particular order — a concert, a dead car battery, 24,000 steps worth of Chicago, and a missed mandatory class. Once I get to the OOTD posts from these last few days, I’ll go into more detail, but suffice to say, I’ve been busy.

Somehow, though, it seems I managed to fit in some flatlay photography for one of these posts. Keyword — some. This isn’t the most cohesive set of photos I’ve ever posted on this blog (save the first two, which are clearly from the same set of my bullet journal), but I like them all for their individual merits. And I did indeed get some really good photos this weekend; it’s just that they’re unrelated. I hope you can forgive me.

Apart from the bullet journal photos, I’ve also got this from picture from my plant class that I thought turned out really well. Our homework is to go out and collect and identify plant samples — how cool is that? It’s probably one of my favorite classes at the moment because it’s low-stress, it’s a subject that interests me, and it’s fun. Compare that to my Russian Lit class, which is high-stress, not interesting, and not much fun, and it’s easy to see how an outdoors botany class would speak to me for this semester.

Plus, I like plants. I’ll have to give you guys an update on my dorm plants soon — since I’m in a new dorm room this year, I guess you’ll have to see the updated configuration. We had some tragic losses (RIP my rose moss seedlings), but we’ve also had some new additions to the family.

The weekend concluded with this really lovely sunset over the Golden Dome, which I had the pleasure of watching out a library window. Sort-of. I wasn’t actually able to secure a coveted window seat myself to watch the whole thing, but I walked by the window multiple times so I could catch it — probably thoroughly annoying the person who was actually sitting by the window in the process.

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!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Back At It

Hoo boy, it’s been a long time since I’ve written one of these!

It’s not that these Saturday Musings posts are that hard to write, but the photography for them is a little more challenging, admittedly, than an OOTD post. I don’t want my flatlays to get repetitive, so I don’t want to keep using the same objects and backgrounds over and over again. But I only have so many objects that I can sit atop a white sheet and make them look cute, you know?

I do have new spread in my bullet journal to show off though, so I figured that was some solid content deserving of a post.

It took me a ridiculous number of hours to get this month’s spread looking like it does. Why did August take so much longer than usual? Well…because I never finished July.

A solid chunk of July for me was spent in Nepal, which meant a solid chunk of July was spent doing things like talking about religion and modernity and finding ancient temples and not doodling in my journal. I’m committed enough to my bullet journal that I want it to be pretty and complete, but not committed enough that I want to designate time necessarily every day in order to write in it so it can be pretty and complete. As a result, I often wind up having to fill in days and events that have already passed, which I guess you could argue defeats the purpose of even using it as a planner.

Okay, so maybe my bullet journal is more of a log of past events than a planner of future ones. Whatever, I’m going to make it look cute and aesthetic either way.

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!

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!

 

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!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Bullet Journal Life

Oh no guys, I’m posting another Saturday Musings blog on a Sunday. What a terrible blogger am I.

This weekend sees me beginning my first bullet journal, which is arguably a terrible decision for the actual organization of my life. See, I’m terrible at devoting time to projects like this. I want them to turn out beautiful, as if I’d put hours and hours of my time in to it, but I’m unwilling to put the hours and hours into it, so I wind up with something where a few pages are done to perfection and the rest are half finished and neglected.

But I just couldn’t resist! I started watching AmandaRachLee’s bullet journal tutorials on YouTube, and I couldn’t stop myself after I saw her pretty pastel colors and simplistic designs. Plus, I figured I already spent a lot of time putting doodles into my planner and making that look cute, so why not put just a little more time into making a bullet journal look cute?

We’ll see how it turns out, I guess. I’ve finished my June spread, and I’m really happy with how it turned out! I used my Prismacolor alcohol-based markers, resulting in having to skip pages due to bleed through (“ghosting” as I’ve heard it called), but I didn’t really have anything better to use. My Prismacolors aren’t really being used for anything right now anyway, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

I’ll keep you updated on my bullet journal adventures! I’m not sure I’d put much faith into me actually maintaining it, especially once school begins, but I wouldn’t count it out either. I like it so far, so hopefully my motivation remains!

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!

REVIEW: The Body Shop Body Yogurt in Mango

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

At this point, it looks like I’m getting Influenster products to review fairly consistently now every month. I don’t want to jinx it in case I don’t end up maintaining that streak, but I’ve been getting a new VoxBox basically once a month since my first one back in February.

And I love that, as Arie from The Bachelor might say. It feels good to break up my OOTD posts a little with the occasional beauty review — it keeps things from going stale.

Today, I’ll be reviewing for you The Body Shop Body Yogurt in the mango scent, which I received a few weeks back for free from Influenster for review purposes. I’ve been trying it out a little over the last few days, and I’m ready to share my thoughts.

Packaging-wise, it’s nothing to write home about. Perfectly serviceable, is probably all I have to say about it. It holds the product, the lid is easy to unscrew, and the vibrant orange color makes it stand out from a lot of the beige and cream colored lotions I already own.

What is definitely something to note, though, is the scent. Seriously, this stuff smells so good. It helps, of course, that I like sweet, fruity scents like mango — if you don’t like mango, you’re not going to like this because it literally smells just like a freshly cut mango. It’s so potent that I got a whiff of it when I first opened up the parcel it had been mailed in (not even the pretty box blue box it was packaged in — the regular cardboard parcel containing that box). My first thought was that maybe it had spilled, and the reason I could smell it without even opening the container was that some of it had leaked onto the cardboard.

Rest assured, though, there were no spills — the scent is just that strong. I’ve owned a lot of Bath and Body Works lotions in my time, thanks to plenty of birthday parties in the early 2010s where Bath and Body Works products and those little hand sanitizers were all the rage, and I don’t think any of them compare to the strength of the smell of this stuff.

As for the actual moisturizing properties, it’s a lot more average. As you can see from my photos, it’s a pretty goopy consistency, though still more solid than liquid. It’s pretty close to yogurt, which I guess is why it’s called Body Yogurt. It’s best used when the skin is still wet, such as right after a shower — but I’m pretty sure that’s true of most moisturizers. I found that it absorbed fairly quickly, though not super speedy, and left a slight residue that went away after a minute.

What was most disappointing to me, though, was that the scent didn’t also stick around. For as pretty and as potent as it smelled right out of the package, on the skin, it didn’t really hold up. I guess you could see that as a good or a bad thing — if you liked the scent, like me, you might be a bit disappointed, but if you weren’t interested in smelling like a mango smoothie all day, you might not have been bothered.

Summary:

Pros:

  • Strong, sweet scent
  • Nice, goopy texture
  • Absorbs into skin quickly

Cons:

  • Scent doesn’t last long
  • Moisturizing properties are nothing special

In the end, it was an alright product. I liked it just fine — probably even more than the Bath and Body Works scented body lotions, which I have to think would be their main competitors. It wasn’t perfect though, especially with the fact that the scent didn’t last super long and the moisturizing properties were only so-so. Give it a try if you want something that smells yummy right out of the package but doesn’t get in the way of wearing perfume on top and doesn’t smell too strong on the skin, but if you’re looking for something with a little more in terms of skin benefits, you may want to look elsewhere.

Have you tried The Body Shop’s Body Yogurts Or do you have any suggestions for your favorite moisturizers? Let me know your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! 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!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Used Car Style

Writing this from the office of a car sales lot, so that’s new for these blogs.

I’m with my dad, who’s buying a new car on account of me wrecking one last summer. Long story short, the car was totaled, but even though it was my dad’s, my mom was the one who ended up getting a new car. My dad got the old car, which I’m pretty sure he was never entirely satisfied with.

Fast forward a year later, and now my dad wants a new car. I would also appreciate the new one so I can see a little better, so it’s great for everyone.

So I’ve been here for a few hours today, and I’ll probably be here for a few more. Thankfully, I brought a cute mug along, and the salesman who’s been helping us has a nice-enough looking desk, so I was able to get some flatlay photography done.

I ended up missing out on a baby shower for a friend today in order to hang out with my dad while he buys this car, but hopefully, that’s all I’ll miss. I’m planning on going out this evening if I can to hang out with some old high school friends, so I’d rather not be here too late this evening.

In other news, I’ve started listening to more French music lately in an attempt to improve my listening skills. You’d think with 4+ years of French education and a blog with a French title (not even a good one, actually — apparently “l’ensemble du jour” isn’t really the best translation of “outfit of the day,” it works, but it’s not perfect).

Anyway, I’m particularly liking Stromae, KYO, and BB Brunes. If you have a hankering (sorry, can’t really come up with a better word) for good French music, I would definitely check them out.

Looks like that’s it for today! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one.

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Lex Vegas

It’s pretty sure I’ve only heard anyone refer to Lexington, KY as “Lex Vegas” like once total in my time living here, but I like it and I’ve been using it ever since.

This was my first full weekend here back home, since I spent the weekend after I moved out visiting Chicago. It was fairly quiet, though not boring — just how I like it.

I spent the Saturday morning visiting some local yard sales with my mother, which is something that never fails to amuse me. I don’t have to buy anything at all to have fun; I just like the hunt. It’s the same way with thrift stores. There’s something really enjoyable about picking through other people’s junk and feeling like you need to wash your hands after examining some dusty old appliances.

This time though, I did find some nice things to buy. I got a parsley plant (yay more plants!), some pots, and a few band shirts. Not that those were anything that I actually needed, and not that they would’ve been expensive to buy new, but getting them used meant it was only like $3 total.

In the afternoon, I got to see Amanda, whom I hadn’t seen since spring break in March. We got lunch, got some cute photos (stay tuned for those in the upcoming days!), got coffee, walked around the park, and in the evening, watched a movie in and ordered Chinese.

Again, it was quiet, but not boring. It was wild not having any homework to distract me from enjoying myself. During the school year, it’s not like I don’t ever go out and do fun things, but I do always have responsibilities (namely homework) to worry about the whole time I’m out. No summer homework = no homework stress, and that’s something I can definitely appreciate.

Saturday Musings + Plants – Derby Day

It seems that people outside of Kentucky don’t really do anything for the Derby.

At least, no one really does anything at Notre Dame. I think I saw that there was one Derby-themed darty somewhere, but I was in class, and darties aren’t really my scene anyway.  I have heard of a few people who were traveling into Louisville to actually attend, but I can’t imagine that it’s many.

I’m not really sure what I was expecting —  I mean, Kentucky people hardly do anything for the Derby, so it’s not like Indiana people were going to do any more. I’m just sitting here by myself streaming it on my laptop in the student center while I work on some essays. Or at least pretend to work on some essays.

For the record, I’m rooting for Firenze Fire, mostly just because he shares the name of a Harry Potter character. He’s almost certainly going to lose — but that’s okay, because I’m not putting any money on it.

Anyway, here’s a little update on my plant collection! My roommate and I have a little jungle growing in our dorm. I won’t go through every single plant here, especially since you saw a lot of them the last time I went on a plant photoshoot spree, but here are a few new ones:

First up is this money plant I got in Chinatown in Chicago. I was between buying her, a bonsai tree, or a bamboo plant in the little tourist shop, but I went for the money plant because it looked like it was in the best health for the cost. I’m a little sad it’s not a Pilea peperomioides, the kind of money plant with sand dollar shaped leaves, but I’m happy with this Pachira aquatica instead. If it brings me money like it’s supposed to, I’ll be satisfied.

This tiger’s jaw succulent is also a new one. I got him from an event my dorm was holding where everyone got to take and pot a succulent. Definitely the best dorm event all year. I wish they’d had even more succulents so I could’ve taken more — inevitably, a lot of the people who took succulents are going to kill them or otherwise neglect them, which is unfortunate because I would love to take them in and care for them. Oh well.

Speaking of neglecting plants. here are some four o’ clocks I grew from seeds I got for free at a “sustainability fair” some club was putting on. I didn’t expect them all to germinate, and so quickly, so I planted the seeds in way too small a pot. Once the seedlings are a little more mature, I’ll give some away so that the ones I have can thrive.

The rest of these plants are old, but have made important new developments. My African violets sprouted flowers, my baby saguaro cactus has grown hairy, and my sunflowers seedlings have gotten taller!

On a more somber note, whatever kind of plants were growing alongside my saguaro seedling are pretty much all dead. I’m just disappointed that none of them will ever get big enough for me to figure out what these little guys were supposed to be. They started growing around the same time as the saguaro did, making me think they sprouted from the cactus seed mix I planted, but they sure don’t look like cacti. No idea what they are.

I love being a plant mom. It’s like having being a real mom, but you don’t have to talk to your kids.

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!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – It’s Sunday

T-minus one week of classes to go, and am I ready for them? Nope!

It’s fine — I have a lot of late nights ahead of me, and a lot of pages of writing to get through. If blogging has taught me one thing, though, it’s how to put words on a page in order to fill space when I have nothing interesting to say, so I should be set.

You know what’s not set? My schedule for next semester. I have the absolute last time slot for sophomores in my university, which means I am probably not going to get into all of the classes I want. I did have a really good registration time last semester, so I can’t complain too much — but that doesn’t mean I won’t still, especially if I don’t make it into a few classes that I am particularly keen on getting into.

Scheduling classes is such a stressful process — your college career, and by extension, your actual career, is dependent upon it, which could be bad in the long run if you can’t get into the courses you need. For me, trying to do two majors and possibly two minors, the classes I manage to get into for next semester could have a big impact on my ability to actually achieve those goals.

And yet instead of trying to get my life together and actually prepare for course registration, I have spent a large portion of my day looking into study abroad programs for my junior year, like the degenerate with time management issues I am. I mean, why prepare for the important thing I have to do tomorrow when I could prepare for the important thing that doesn’t become relevant to me for another year?

You’d think with all of the time management games I played as a kid, like Diner Dash and Sally’s Salon, I would actually be better at holding myself to a schedule now. But alas — here I am at 11 o’ clock writing a blog detailing my woes, instead of actually doing the work I need to do for tomorrow.

Guess it’s time to get on that then. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! 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!