July 22, 2018 – Fore! (OOTD #334)

I…I don’t actually know what “fore” means.

So my home town had the pleasure of hosting a PGA golf tournament a little bit ago, and my father and I had the pleasure of going. I don’t know a lot about golf, and while he’s definitely more knowledgeable than me, I’m not sure he’d call himself a huge fan either. We had a friend who offered us his tickets though, so why not go?

Here’s why not to go — when we showed up at the parking lot to take the shuttle over to the course, we were told that due to thunderstorms in the area, play had been postponed.

We waited around for a while, but after a brief fakeout, where we were actually allowed onto the shuttle, and made it all the way to the course before being told play had been suspended again and that we had to go back, we gave up.

Clearly, based on these photos though, we did make it — four hours after we had originally intended upon getting there. Eventually though, the thunderstorms stopped long enough for my dad and I to get to the course and watch a little golf.

Like I said though, I don’t know a lot about golf — don’t even really know what “fore” means, that is, beyond the four hours it took for my dad and I to get to the course. I do know that all of the times I’ve played mini golf, I have never hit a golf ball as hard as some of those professional golfers did.

It was a shame about all the rain, really. It scared most of the spectators away, so we never got to see the tournament in full swing, with all the fans walking around and yelling ”get it in the hole” and whatever it is golf fans do.

I did get to walk around a muddy golf course for a few hours, so that’s something. It was hardly a day to be “fore”-gotten.

Dress: a boutique in Nepal

July 8, 2018 – Getting Edgy (OOTD #325)

I bet my mother about had a heart attack when she saw these photos.

As much as I generally don’t mind heights and don’t mind climbing to the top of slightly sketchy perches, I would not have actually done so if it were actually as dangerous as these photos make it look. While my friends did once tell me I was probably the most likely person they knew to die while trying to get a selfie, I do actually care somewhat for my physical wellbeing.

So rest assured, I’m actually safer here than I look — there’s a ledge not far below the rock I’m sitting atop, and then the cliff below. It was still pretty scary looking down though.

So why am sitting on a rock in the mountains, seemingly perched on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley? Believe it or not, I did not actually climb all the way up here just for a rock and some pretty views — it was actually a temple to the Hindu goddess Kali that I had in mind.

One of the very first excursions I went on while in Nepal was to the “1000 steps temple,” which I never actually ended up reaching on account of the sun going down and our legs getting tired. Instead, about 250 steps up, we stopped to see to pay a visit to the giant gold Buddha, and then, satisfied with what we had seen, turned around and went back.

This time, we decided to go the rest of the way and finally see what was at the top of those 1000 steps. It was literally about 45 minutes of climbing, but finally, the steps ended and we were greeted with the infamous 1000 steps temple.

And you know what? It was pretty lame. I’ve seen plenty of religious structures so far while I’ve been in Nepal — mosques, stupas, temples, shrines — and pretty much all of them have been exciting experiences for me in one way or another, either because of the architecture of the buildings themselves or the beauty of the rituals performed there.

The Kali temple, however, was no architectural marvel, and there were few people there to actually observe doing anything. In fact, I think the only people we saw there were tourists.

In fairness, we were unable to visit part of the actual structure due to damage that had been caused by a bad earthquake a few years back, so perhaps that would

If the temple itself was relatively uninteresting, the views we saw there at the top of that mountain were the exact opposite. Nepal, and in particular, the Kathmandu Valley, is full of spectacular mountain views. I’m actually surprised I’m not tired of them by now with how often I see them. The sight of the cloudy hills never gets old, though.

July 7, 2018 – I Fell Down A Mountain (OOTD #324)

Oops.

I’m going to cut straight to the moral of the story, here — don’t wear a tea-length skirt hiking in the Kathmandu Valley.

I don’t know how or why anyone would be stupid enough to do that — in fact, I myself am still a little hazy on the details as to how I ended up in a skirt to go hiking. I guess I was hoping to spare the pink trousers I had worn earlier in the day from getting dirty by wearing something I’d already worn and was thus already dirty. It didn’t work. That skirt was plenty dirty by the time we were done.

That’s why we’ve got two very distinct outfits and backgrounds featured in this blog — there was the outfit I wore to class during the day, and then the (poorly chosen) outfit I changed into in the afternoon to go hiking in. Honestly, I should have just stayed in the outfit I went to classes in — it ultimately would have been more practical than the skirt I went with.

After session, a group of us decided to go out, as per usual. We had no particular goal in mind, just wanted to get out of the hotel for a while and stretch our legs. For some reason, I assumed this meant a stroll around town.

What it ended up being was probably the most intense physical activity I did the entire time I was in Nepal. I mean, I’m used to walking, and I’m used to hiking, but I’m not used to sliding down a mountain on my ass in a tea-length skirt. That’s a new one for me.

The nice thing was that after a very steep decline to get down to the main path, the rest of the walk was fairly easy — just a gentle sloping road. It was simply a matter of getting up and down.

Like I said, I slipped and slid most of my way down, leaving myself coated in mud and with a weird rash on my palm from grabbing some plant that I guess I shouldn’t have in order to try to stabilize myself after tripping for the 20th time. ‘Twas an adventure.

We did get to see some cool views of the valley though, and made some stray dog friends who followed us most of the way begging for food. It was a good time, albeit a muddy one.

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 Nepal. 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: Altar’d State

Trousers: The LOFT

July 1, 2018 – Jet Lagged (OOTD #318)

Oh dear, it looks like the jet lag has hit me like a…well, a jet.

My first night in Nepal, I had no trouble sleeping. After the long, stressful journey of 30 hours, I was ready to crash. The second night though, apparently, not so much.

It’s interesting because I remember having no trouble justing to the time difference in London — perhaps that was because I stayed up the entire plane ride, so that by the time I made it to Heathrow in the morning, and I was forced to stay up for another 8 hours, I was more than ready to sleep at night.

Here, though, I slept pretty easily throughout the plane ride, making it more difficult trying to adjust to the 9 hours and 45 minutes difference. Why 9 hours and 45 minutes? Apparently Nepal wanted to distinguish itself from India, so their clocks are 15 minutes off from India’s time. There’s your fun fact for the day.

Anyway, after a night of barely sleeping at all, I decided to get up at about 5 AM and just start my day. No point in just laying there in bed and feeling badly for myself for not being able to sleep, right?

That’s when these photos were taken, actually — in the wee hours of the morning before anyone else was up. Since I had nothing to do, I figured I’d prop up my phone and take some simple photos in the lounge area of the hotel. No one but a few housekeepers was around to judge me, so it made it pretty easy.

The rest of the day was spent in the conference. The first half was a lecture by a professor from Duke on feminism in Islamic texts and law, and the second half was  a guided discussion amongst the students on our thoughts about the lecture.

Not being a scholar of Islam or even a Muslim, it was a little difficult to think of things to stay during the discussion. The people at my table seemed interested to hear my perspective as a Christian American woman, but I’m not positive that what I ended up saying was really all that helpful. My purpose here is not to say anything wildly controversial or profound though, but just to add more dimension to the conversation, to provide another facet of the human experience. I hope I did that.

But even if I didn’t, there’s plenty more time to do so! I have 13 more days before the conference ends, so even if I was useless today, maybe tomorrow, I won’t be.

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 Nepal. 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: H&M

Top: Vintaged (thrifted)

Pants: Thrifted

June 30, 2018 – Calm Before The Storm (OOTD #317)

Here I am, my first full day in Nepal!

This was the day that most of the students attending the Madrasa Discourses conference were to be arriving, meaning I was finally not completely alone at the lodge! My two roommates arrived, one of whom is a Notre Dame student I was vaguely familiar with before Nepal, and one of whom is a Pakistani woman in a full niqab (who arrived at like, 1 AM in the morning, the poor thing).

In all, there are about 20ish Pakistani students, 20ish Indians, 7 South Africans, and 7 American students from Notre Dame. Since there was no programming today, those of us who arrived in the afternoon (or like me, the previous night), simply hung out, chatted, and took meals together to socialize and kill time.

An American student, a Pakistani-German student, and I were all feeling energetic enough to go for a short hike after lunch, so we decided to venture down the mountain of Dhulikel. We heard there was a village at the bottom, but little did we know, that village was probably a solid two miles away. Two miles isn’t bad when you’re jogging on flat terrain, but walking down a steep mountain is another thing. We didn’t even make it a quarter of the way before giving up and turning around, sweaty and exhausted. Meanwhile, several local Nepali people walked by, steady-footed and swift, to put us all to shame. At least we got a pretty view of the area as we went down.

I wanted to get some sleep after our walk, but I knew it would be best for me if I stayed up all day and didn’t sleep until the night. The jet lag was hitting me like a truck at that point, and even though I desperately wanted to take a nap, I resisted.

That night though, I of course had very little luck actually sleeping. I got about three hours before my Pakistani roommate showed up, and after that, I really wasn’t able to sleep anymore. My body kind of hates itself for the nine hours and forty-five minute time difference, so I guess I can’t blame it.

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 Nepal. 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: Abercrombie

Pants: Forever21

Scarf: My mother’s closet

June 26, 2018 – Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? (OOTD #314)

Okay, but you feel me, right? I definitely look like I’m a muppet from Sesame Street in this outfit.

There’s something about the lime green and yellow combo that reminds me of Big Bird or Bernie or one of the various characters — I guess it’s something of a childlike color scheme, and that’s why it’s calling to mind thoughts of Sesame Street. The fact that I’m wearing basically a jumper with tights and loafers as well…should’ve just put my hair in pigtails and I would’ve had the preschooler look down, huh?

This was my last day before I departed for Nepal, which meant basically that I spent the entire time packing.

I have friends who are excellent at that — they make a list of everything they need, they start packing things weeks in advance, and by the night before they travel, they’re all set to go. Then there’s me.

I’m not the worst, I have to say. I do begin my packing like…a day or two before I leave. Still, I usually wind up frantically putting outfits together and filling travel bottles of shampoo very late at night before I have to go, trying to keep my eyes open and just generally regretting my life choices.

When I had to leave for college, I actually didn’t begin packing until about three days before I had to go — big mistake. Packing for college was probably one of the most stressful experiences of my last few years, and mostly because I left it to the absolute last second. It was also stressful because I was you know, packing for my freshman year of college and that conceptually was scary.

Leaving for Nepal on my own is also conceptually kind of scary. I’ve only traveled on my own domestically before; any international travel has always been with a friend or family. I’m going from Lexington to Chicago to Abu Dhabi to Kathmandu over the course of about 30 hours, and while Kathmandu is very exciting, going through security repeatedly and navigating terminals is not.

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!

Dress: Vintage (thrift)

Top: H&M

Leggings: AMIClubwear

June 26, 2018 – Sock Story (OOTD #313)

Check out these cool socks.

I actually got them against my mother’s wishes (what a rebel, I know) — she thought they were ugly and had no stylistic purpose, but I thoroughly disagreed. It was an impulse buy, one of those things that just sit in bins by the checkout counter in order to lure you into spending a few extra dollars. but as impulse buys go, I think it was a good one.

The couple of times I’ve worn these socks, they always manage to tie the outfit together in ways I would not expect. They’re really quite magical.

Imagine, if you can, this outfit without the red socks. Or don’t, and just take my word when I say that the outfit wasn’t really working without them.

So I was standing there in my room, skirt, top, and jacket already on, and I wasn’t feeling it. The proportions were off, the vibe wasn’t right, and I knew I needed to add something to tie everything together. After briefly considering a necklace, thigh-high socks, or tights, I thought I would try my red ankle socks.

And obviously, given the title of this blog and all of the photos you’ve seen thus far, it worked! The red socks turned an otherwise “off” outfit into something I believe is actually quite fashionable. Funny, sometimes, how something as small as some socks can really tie an entire outfit together.

There’s more to the story about this outfit, though — this was worn two days before I left for Nepal, and I really wanted to wear something distinctively fun, something that I couldn’t wear in the more conservative context of the Islamic theology conference I’ll be attending. There, I’ll be restricted to wearing loose-fitting and more professional clothes, which is fine and all, but I really wanted to wear something a little more exciting before I had to start wearing button-downs and culottes everyday.

I don’t know, but I feel like this carpetbag-pattered skirt, band tee, and velvet socks achieved that goal. Hopefully it’ll tide me over until I return to the US and I can be fun again.

Besides, these are my “rebel” socks, that I got despite what my mother advised. What could be more fun than that?

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: Hot Topic

Jacket: thrifted

Skirt: Forever21

Socks: DSW

June 24, 2018 – Writer’s Block (OOTD #311)

I’ve been sitting here for like, a half an hour trying to think of a good way to start this blog, but I’ve got nothing.

Usually, I find writing these blogs to be fairly easy — I begin with some sort of observation about my outfit, some pun that plays into the blog’s title, or a continuation of a thought begun in a previous blog. Sometimes, I’ll even just start into a discussion of what happened that day, especially if it was an exciting day with events worth discussing.

This day, however, had no particularly exciting events (Buying some new shoes! Running errands! Eating dinner!), and no easy puns to make.

As a kid in elementary school, we used to have to keep these writing journals. They were meant to help us practice our writing skills — you know, composition, grammar, etc. — and we were supposed to start each day when we arrived in the classroom by writing a paragraph or two. Sometimes, there was a prompt, but more often, you were expected to come up with something to write about on your own.

Yo have no idea how many of those journal entires for me began with something along the lines of “I don’t know what to write about.”

Back then, I used to think I was so clever by responding to the challenge of writing every day with such a rebellious statement — here my teacher was telling me to write, and my answer was that I had nothing to say. It was kind of meta, if you will.

At the same time though, it was kind of lazy. There’s only so much thought vomit about writer’s block that can be amusing before it just gets obnoxious and pretentious.

As you’ve probably noticed here though, that’s what I’m doing now! The 2018 Grown-Up Meilin version of those journal entries I made when I was a kid. I guess I’m just as obnoxious and pretentious as I was back then.

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: Free People

Skirt: Vintage (thrifted)

June 17, 2018 – Dad Day 2K18 (OOTD #305)

It feels weird publishing this Father’s Day blog two weeks after it’s passed, but you know, it happens.

For Dad Day this year, we went out to Louisville to hang out with my grandmother (my father’s mother), get lunch, and otherwise, just chill. It was a very typically Scanish day, involving moderately-priced sit-down food, my grandmother trying to overfeed us, and sitting around and gossiping about my various cousins whom I don’t really know.

We ended up going to Macaroni Grill, if only because the place my dad originally wanted to go was closed. I was happy enough — Macaroni Grill had a pretty bright yellow wall that worked well for taking pictures with, which the other restaurant didn’t.

Not that taking OOTD pretty photos is the most important factor in deterring where to eat for a Father’s Day lunch! I mean, it was his choice, or, I guess, second-choice. I’m just very glad that his second-choice made for a prettier background that his first would have.

Macaroni Grill was my favorite restaurant as a kid, but to be honest, it really didn’t live up to my childhood memories. For one, my favorite old dish, the Pasta Milano, is no longer there, which basically means that Macaroni Grill is dead to me now. There are just better pasta restaurants in the world, you know?

I debated whether or not I should conclude this blog with a “my dad is great!” Father’s Day kind of spiel, but it seems weird to do so since Father’s Day was so long ago. My dad is great though, so I guess the point still stands. And if you’re reading this Dad, hi! I hope you’re doing a good job of keeping my plants alive while I’m gone.

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: Altar’d State

Top: Express (thrifted)

Shorts: Francesca’s

Dad: South Jersey

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!