August 29, 2019 – Capitalizing on the Capitol (OOTD #556)

Naturally, the first tourist destination for my semester in DC was Capitol Hill.

I mean, I’ve visited Congress before, on account of having been a middle schooler before and going on the trip that every American middle schooler (at least on the Eastern half of the country) seems to go on to DC. It’s like a rite of passage for young American teens — if your parents don’t take you, your school probably will.

Honestly, in terms of cool government buildings, DC probably isn’t the best. The Capitol is definitely worth seeing, but the Supreme Court and the White House aren’t all that. Otherwise, DC has a lot of brutalist designs (think the FBI building or the State Department, which I think were designed to be as ugly as physically possible). Budapest’s Parliament or London’s Westminster Palace are personally more my taste in terms of impressive architecture.

Some of the monuments and memorials are really cool, though, but I’ll get into those another day.

I can’t speak to the basement offices or the mysterious Capitol subway that runs between the two chambers, but the stuff you get to see on a generic tour is neat. We went with someone from the office of Jackie Walorski, the Indiana representative from the district where Notre Dame was. It was just some poor intern who looked more excited to get to something interesting for once, but she did a good job.

In fact, I’m a little jealous she got to give us a tour — that’s not something I can do in my internship. As much as I don’t think a Capitol Hill internship is really for me, I do think some of the benefits to working on the Hill are enviable.

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!


Top: a boutique in Kathmandu

Blazer: Banana Republic

Skirt: Banana Republic

August 26, 2019 – Summer Salmon (OOTD #555)

I kind-of regret not considering Georgetown more seriously when I was applying for university.

I don’t remember why I ruled it out, but it was eliminated from consideration before I even got around to visiting schools. I think if I had visited, I may have given it some more serious thought — as it turns out, Georgetown is a really lovely neighborhood, not to mention, it’s in DC, arguably the hub for the types of studies I want to pursue.

(I also probably could’ve gotten into it when I was 18, unlike, say, H_____d, but we don’t have to talk about that).

But no matter — I’m at Notre Dame now, and I love it all the same. South Bend is no Washington DC, but I’m sure I’d have things to complain about if I lived in DC for 10 months a year: in fact, I already had some complaints about the culture of the city after having been here for less than a week, which I voiced in yesterday’s blog.

And besides, I get to come work and live in DC now for a semester, so I ended up getting my DC experience in the end.

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!


Top: Vintage (thrift, Street Scene Vintage)

Skirt: Forever21

August 25, 2019 – Rainbow Road (OOTD #554)

You know, if you squinted, this could almost pass for a part of Notting Hill in London.

Look, I’ll be up front about it: Washington DC is not my favorite city in the world. It’s not even my favorite city in the US. As much as I’m grateful to be here for the semester as a part of an internship program with Notre Dame and as much as I’m excited to be away from South Bend for a few months, my enthusiasm is more to do with what goes on in DC, rather than DC itself.

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: Thrifted (the pile of abandoned clothing in my dorm room’s laundry room)

Jacket: Forever21

August 24, 2019 – The Washington Way (OOTD #553)

Finally, my actual location and the location that I’m writing about in my blogs match up again!

IMG_6539.jpeg

As I’ve mentioned before, the content I’m posting about in my blogs tends to be a bit behind (or, has been the case recently, quite behind) the date I’m actually posting it. For example, I’m writing this blog in late October, but it’s about something that happened back in late August. So in late August, I was moving in to my apartment in Washington, DC.

But wait, Washington DC isn’t in Northern Indiana! Isn’t there where I normally go to school? Why wasn’t I moving back into my dorm at Notre Dame in late August, along with all of my friends and the rest of the student body?

The answer: because I’m taking a semester away from Notre Dame to do a special program though the Political Science Department to take a full 15-credit semester course load while working an internship here part-time. Think of it like a study abroad semester — except of course, DC isn’t really abroad.

IMG_6574.jpeg

Unlike a semester abroad, however, I get to work (and in my case, get paid!) while maintaining my status as a full-time student. And at any rate, I get to go abroad in the spring semester anyway, so I really get the best of both worlds.

IMG_6541.jpeg

What I don’t get, however, is the third world: my friends back on campus at Notre Dame. I’m going to be away for a whole year, and that’s kind of saddening. Not saddening enough to prevent me from doing it (and honestly not even really saddening enough for me to give a second thought about whether I wanted to do it), but enough so to make looking at my friends’ Instagram posts of them moving back into the dorms a little bittersweet.

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!


Turtleneck: Forever21

Trousers: Zara

 

August 21, 2019 – Lights, Camera (OOTD #552)

I never cease to be amazed at what a good photographer with a good camera can do.

DSC_6675 copy.jpg

I don’t know to what extent you notice this, but the quality of my photographs varies greatly between blog posts based on who is taking the picture and on what device. Some of my best pictures are taken on my current iPhone by my father (who just has a really excellent eye for composition). Some of my worst from the early days of this blog were taken using my laptop webcam balanced on top of some textbooks and empty Cheez-It boxes.

DSC_6700 copy

To be quite honest, these are probably some of my best ever — and the best I’m going to have for quite some time, until I’m either rich and can afford to pay a professional photographer to follow me around or until I make a loyal photographer friend who just enjoys taking my picture every day. Until then, I’ll have to settle for my iPhone and my Apple Watch’s remote camera feature for every day pictures.DSC_6795 copy.jpg

And that’s okay! Honestly, for as much fun as a full photo shoot can be, it’s also kind-of exhausting. I run out of poses and facial expressions after a while. I don’t know how professional models do it.

DSC_6824 copy.jpg

These were taken by my friend, Adam Brester, a professional photographer, the same man who did my senior portraits way back in the day. You can even see examples from some of that season on his website! 

DSC_6955 copy

Adam lives in Lexington, but he’s looking at potentially moving soon, so we thought it would be nice to do another session together before I headed to Washington DC and he headed to wherever life takes him next. He was looking for a subject for some portraits that he could add to his portfolio, and I was happy to get some Instagram content in exchange.DSC_6818 copy.jpg

Watching Adam work gives me an increased appreciation for photography as an art form. Of all of the mediums of the visual arts, such as painting or drawing, photography is probably the one I understand the least. Ironically, it is also probably the one that I deal with the most in my everyday life — I don’t paint every day, but I probably take at least one photo each day, whether it’s just a dumb selfie to send to my Snapchat streaks or an OOTD shot for this blog.

DSC_7029 copy.jpg

Even if I take pictures every day, I certainly do not do so in the capacity of a “photographer.” Maybe an “artist,” at least in the sense that I consider my outfit stylings to be artistic, and I attempt to use my backgrounds and compositions to complement the artistry of the outfit. But a photographer — one who truly understands light and color and the various settings of the camera to create a desired effect — I certainly am not.

DSC_6969 copy.jpg

That’s why watching someone like Adam work is so fascinating. I love watching people do things they’re good at that I am not. I love listening to film critics talk about cinematography, and I love watching musicians learn new pieces. I can’t do those either of those things with any skill, but I think it’s neat that there are people who can and who derive joy from their art. It may not be my art, but I’m glad it’s someone else’s.

DSC_7074 copy.jpg

Plus, it was just nice to go out into the city and goof around for the evening. I wasn’t really home in Lexington much over the summer, and the time I did have, I didn’t really spend going out and doing anything. Mostly, I was just sitting at home trying either to get some rest after having returned from traveling or to pack to get ready to go traveling again.DSC_7171 copy.jpg

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 summer. 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!

DSC_7255 copy.jpg


Outfit 1: Tomato

Top: H&M

Skirt: Forever21

Outfit 2: Dragon lady

Top: Unknown

Skirt: The LOFT

Outfit 3: Hot dog saleswoman

Jacket: Vintage (thrifted, Foxhouse Vintage)

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: A street vendor in Nepal

August 18, 2019 – Fair Weather Friends (OOTD #551)

Ironically, this post features neither “fair weather” nor any “friends.” It does have kind-of  gross, muggy late-August Kentucky weather and my family, though.

IMG_6353

I consider myself something of an expert in overcoming jet lag — I haven’t struggled with it really since my 2018 trip to Nepal, and that was over a year ago. Perhaps it stems from being a college student and never having a regular sleep schedule to begin with and ignoring my circadian rhythms on the daily.

My trick is to try as much as possible to use my time on the plane ride to get myself into the wake-sleep schedule of whatever my destination is. If I arrive in the morning, I try to stay awake the day/night before so I can sleep on the plane. If I’m arriving in the evening, I try to nap before the plane ride so I can then stay awake for the duration of the plane. The former is typically the easier option — I’m normally stressed before plane rides, so once I’ve finally made it onto the plane, I’m able to relax and get some sleep.

IMG_6359.jpeg

After I’ve arrived at my destination, it’s then imperative to try to stay awake for the duration of the next full day. This is hard, especially when you’re home alone with nothing to do because there’s nothing to stop you from just crawling back into bed for your fourth nap of the day. The solution, then, is to go out and do something with friends.

Since I don’t have any of those (contrary to what this blog title might suggestion), I went out with my family to a local art fair — one of my favorite summer outing opportunities. I’m typically not big into summer-themed activities, but I must admit I love a good art fair.

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 summer. 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: Akira (thrift, my dorm room’s laundry room)

Skirt: A Pull and Bear in Zagreb

August 17, 2019 – A New York Minute (OOTD #550)

Nothing quite beats the feeling of returning back to the US after being gone for a long time.

Even if it’s just an airport — even an airport I’ve never been to before — and I have hours and hours of connections to make before I actually make it back to Kentucky, it’s nonetheless comforting being back in my own country.

IMG_6271.jpeg

My flight from Tel-Aviv left at around midnight local time and arrived at New York JFK at 6 AM in the morning. My next flight to Atlanta wasn’t until 4 PM (though it ended up getting pushed back a few hours — thankfully I was still able to make the connection from ATL to LEX), so with my time, I decided to do what I do best in airports — leave and come back.

After dropping my bags off at baggage storage, I headed to the AirTrainJFK  to get into the city. JFK isn’t directly connected to the subway system (compared to say, Chicago O’Hare or London Heathrow or Copenhagen Kastrup, where you can get directly on the metro from the airport terminal), but it has its own train line that then connects to the subway in Queens.

IMG_6174.jpg

From Queens, I then bought a MetroCard for the subway (hot take: why is it called “MetroCard” when it’s the subway system? You’d immediately give yourself away as a visitor rather than a local if you referred to the New York underground transport system as a “metro” rather than a “subway,” so why do they use the word “metro” for their cards?) and took the J Train into Manhattan.

I only had a few hours — not enough to go into the tourist areas in the center of Manhattan —  so I mostly hung out around East Village.

IMG_6207.jpeg

This was my first time in this particular neighborhood, and I must say, I liked it very much. With the exception of a homeless man who swore at me for ignoring him as I walked into a Starbucks, it was a lovely part of town — quieter than the Upper East or Upper West Sides, but still very much a part of New York. And it was relatively balanced in diversity — it didn’t seem to have a particular dominant cultural or ethnic leaning. Not that a neighborhood having a strong cultural leaning is a bad thing at all — but I thought it was cool to see a neighborhood that seemed to have so many different people living together in close proximity.

IMG_6196.jpeg

My one complaint (besides the swearing homeless man — but like, that’s just New York) was that a lot of shops and restaurants were closed, even though I was there during the day. I visited on a Saturday morning, and nothing really seemed to start opening up until around 11AM, which was when I needed to start heading back to the airport. I was able to go into a few consignment shops, but on the whole, I was really only able to wander around the park and read The Times in Starbucks.

IMG_6209.jpeg

Still better than sitting in the airport, but I guess New York does after sleep sometimes after all.

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 summer. 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: A shop on either Ben Yehuda or King George Street in Jerusalem (I’ve already forgotten, oops)

Hat: Thrifted (a consignment shop in Jerusalem)

August 16, 2019 – End Times (OOTD #549)

I’m really on a roll with these religion-themed blog titles.

IMG_6026.jpeg

The reasoning behind this one, if it weren’t clear (which, to be fair, it’s probably not on the surface) is because this was my last day in Israel-Palestine, and I visited the Mount of Olives — the location where some faith traditions believe the end of the world will occur.

IMG_6150.jpeg

Another layer of meaning you could derive, if you so choose to, is that I also visited the Garden of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus stopped and prayed before the end of his life. It was also a Friday, the end of the working week and the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath, Shabbat. 

After my big tour the previous day, I felt like I had pretty much seen everything within Old City that I wanted to see, so I decided to walk a little beyond the bounds of Jerusalem city center. After consulting the Internet for ideas of things to do in Jerusalem for free on Shabbat, I decided on the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives.

IMG_6012.jpeg

And I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t know if I’d say either of them were my favorite sites from the whole trip (to be honest, I don’t know if I could choose just one) but they were a perfect way to get away from the insanity that is Jerusalem. Jerusalem wasn’t Rome insane, but, like Rome, it’s an ancient city that modern people live in — as a result, the limitations of architecture that was only built to accommodate donkeys and foot traffic is  constantly coming into conflict with the demands of 21st century life. I can’t tell you how many times I was almost run over by a scooter trying to drive through the narrow, winding streets of Old City.

IMG_5986.jpeg

Gethsemane wasn’t much to look at as a garden — sure, it was lovely, but it’s no grand botanical conservatory, like what Copenhagen has. It’s simple and small — you can walk the perimeter in about two minutes. There’s an attached church, as with all of the “holy” Christian sites in Jerusalem, but it’s no architectural marvel.

What makes the Garden of Gethsemane great is that it’s one of the only sites in Jerusalem that actually looks somewhat like what it might have looked like in Biblical times. You can visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, but there will be no traces of the stable that supposedly used to stand there. You can visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Old City, but there’s no geographic indication that is was once a hill where the crosses stood. In fact, as I understand, many historians question whether these are the real locations of these famous religious events at all — or whether they’re just based on tradition stemming from an era of Crusaders who were desperate to claim they’d discovered the location of Jesus’s first carpentry classes.

The Garden of Gethsemane, however, actually is the garden from the stories. And furthermore, the olive trees may even potentially be the trees (or at least, descendants of the trees) that were there in Biblical times. Though the trees are too old to date precisely, scientists have determined that it’s possible that several are at least 900 years old, possibly older.Compare this to the (in my opinion) somewhat gaudy Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Jesus was supposedly crucified, that’s surrounded on all sides by apartments and shops that prevent you from visualizing Golgotha as it might have looked 2000 years ago, and you see why I liked Gethsemane so much. A local caretaker for the garden even offered me some clippings from the olive trees and some saffron (which he instructed me to make tea out of in order to attract a boyfriend). IMG_6011

The other site I liked was the Mount of Olives. I wish it weren’t so hot when I made the climb from Lions’ Gate to the Church of the Ascension  (which I didn’t even go into because there was an entrance fee), but it made for a beautiful panoramic view of the city from the top. It made for the perfect end times to my Jerusalem trip.

IMG_6056.jpeg

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my trip to Israel-Palestine this summer. 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!


T-shirt: Forever21

Turtleneck: Amazon

Jeans: Hollister

August 15, 2019 – Holy Ground (OOTD #548)

Thursday was my tourist day in Jerusalem.

0a3a45a0-11f7-4fea-9e55-e110143166ab

What, you thought I was going to go all the way to the Holy City without seeing the major tourist sites — the Western Wall, the Al-Aqsa mosque, and of course, the University of Alabama gift shop?

IMG_5819

The place I stayed at, Abraham Hostels, also offered tours, and as a guest, I got a slight discount. I considered trying to visit some of the “holy sites” by myself, but after a few days in Israel-Palestine on own, I realized that it would be best to just go with a tour guide.

Could I have probably done the research and learned how to visit some of the “holiest” and most contested locations in the world? Sure — and lots of visitors do it perfectly safely every day. But after spending half of the week stressing out over how to travel from Israel to Palestine when it’s illegal for even locals to so (spoiler alert: I figured it out), I decided I wanted a break. Maybe I had been spoiled after my cruise in the Galápagos Islands, but it sure is nice to have someone take care of all of your travel arrangements for you.

IMG_5918

On my designated “tourist day,” I saw the Western Wall, the Al-Aqsa Mosque (and the Dome of the Rock), the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (for the second time), the Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Flagellation, and Jesus’s supposed handprint. Oh, and a Bama gift shop. That may have been my favorite.

img_5973

I’m just teasing —  I think my favorite may have actually been the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, just for the sheer beauty of the structure. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve seen a lot (seriously, so many) of places of worship in my travels.

This was actually one of the very first days that non-Muslim visitors were allowed to enter the premises of the Al-Aqsa Mosque for quite some time. During the whole month of Ramadan, it was closed, and it was closed again at the very beginning of my visit to Jerusalem for Eid ul-Adha.

IMG_5853

Because I was with a tour group, our time in the area was limited (only about 15 minutes, as we arrived just before it closed for mid-day prayer), but I had enough time to get some of my favorite photos from any travel experience ever. My photographer was a woman named Demi, whom I became friends with over the course of the tour. Honestly, I wish we’d met sooner — she made for a great photographer (and a nice companion, seeing as I’d spend pretty much all of the rest of my time in Israel-Palestine completely alone).

I always wonder what becomes of the people I meet briefly in random places when I travel around — I’ll likely never get to see them again, and even if I follow them on social media, we don’t exactly quality as “friends,” just acquaintances. What’s going on with Axel from France or Haya from Nepal or Bilal from Hungary or Nina from Croatia?

IMG_5941.jpg

I think the only way for me to get to see all of these people in once place again is either to get married or die — weddings and funerals, as they say. Honestly, one of those two options seems like the easier route to me, but I don’t know if I’m quite ready for it yet. Besides, I want to be still alive when all of my friends gather.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my trip to Israel-Palestine this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Skirt: Street vendor in New York

Sweater: Target

Camisole: H&M

Hat: Thrifted (a consignment shop in Jerusalem)