August 26, 2018 – Just Right (OOTD #356)

I never know when I buy clothes which pieces will get the most wear.

Apart from obvious staples, like leggings and jeans and plain tops that are worn on a weekly basis, a lot of my other clothes I buy without knowing how frequently I’ll be able to wear them. Obviously, I don’t buy things unless I know I will wear them for some reason eventually — no reason to go about acquiring clothes without purpose. But if I come to the conclusion that I like a piece, and that I will have the occasion to wear it, there’s no way for me to tell easily if I’ll feel inspired to wear it often or not. So I buy it knowing it will get use, but not knowing if that use will be frequent.

Some of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe, that I love for their artistic design, I actually don’t wear much. Take this jacket and this top for example — I haven’t worn an outfit with either one for months. Still, I love them and consider them among my favorites, so why don’t I wear them?

I guess it comes from the fear that if I wear something too much, I’ll come to be bored with it. Consequently, there ends up being a set of clothing that neither love nor hate that I nonetheless wear with great frequency — and that includes this plaid jacket.

I like this jacket, I really do. But I don’t love it — it’s kind of itchy, and it tends to get wrinkly  easily. Regardless, I find that I often end up wearing it a lot (relative to other things in my wardrobe) because it falls perfectly into that “indifferent” category. I’m not afraid I’ll get tired of it by wearing it a lot, and I’m not put off from wearing it because I don’t actually like it much.

To reference the classic piece of literature, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, it’s “just right.”

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 home at Potre Lame. 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

Top: Express (thrift)

Jeans: Abercrombie

Boots: Ralph Lauren

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!

August 14, 2018 – Back in the Bend (OOTD #346)

It’s as the title says: I’m back in South Bend!

Being honest, I don’t know if I’d really say I’ve missed it. The Notre Dame-South Bend relationship has probably been one of my least favorite things about studying at Notre Dame, and as much as I love Notre Dame, that’s one complaint I really can’t ignore.

Notre Dame is very much isolated from the South Bend community, and South Bend, honestly, feels rather isolated from the rest of the world. South Bend’s one of those Rust Belt cities that peaked about 50 years ago and has been on a decline ever since, and while you can definitely see some fruits of the attempts to revitalize it, it’s going to be quite a long time until it’s back to its former glory — if it ever gets there.

Notre Dame, on the other hand, is quite the opposite — modern, growing, and, well, very wealthy. The disconnect between the social conditions at ND and in South Bend make it such that I feel like the students have a hard time comprehending the struggles of  the people of South Bend, and the people of South Bend tend to see Notre Dame students as nothing but rich white kids who will leave in four years having done little to contribute to the local community. In fact, Notre Dame, being such a large campus, technically has its own postal code separate from South Bend — which I believe perfectly sums up the dynamic between Notre Dame and South Bend.

Anyway, the Notre Dame-South Bend relationship aside, I have missed a lot of other things about being on campus — my friends, the Starbucks in LaFun, the creepy classrooms of the Riley art building at night. I’m not sure how I feel about classes and the schoolwork bit yet, though. I’m not sure I’m ready to go back to homework.

But I have a few days before I have to start worrying about that, so the next week I can concern myself with getting settled and moved in. And part of that “getting settled” experience, I have decided, should be exploring South Bend a bit — because I don’t want to be one of those Notre Dame kids who leaves in four years with their stupidly expensive diploma without acknowledging the community outside of the Notre Dame bubble.

So after arriving in South Bend in the afternoon, my parents and I did some shopping, got dinner, and walked around the path next to the St. Joseph River. It’s not much, but it’s still more than I did for most of my whole freshman year in South Bend. It’s a start.

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 home in Kentucky. 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 Louisville

Shorts:  Francesca’s

August 5, 2018 – That Was Rewarding (OOTD #342)

After a long hard day of cleaning the house, my family decided to go out and reward ourselves with a bit of ice cream!

You know, I’m admittedly not even a huge ice cream person, but I just love the concept of it. I think it has something to do with this Arthur book I had as a kid where Arthur goes out and treats DW to ice cream after she proves to him how good she is at spelling. Isn’t it funny how dumb little things like that can permanently change your worldviews?

For example, I don’t really enjoy ice cream in cones. I find them messy, unnecessary, and just generally add on calories that I don’t need when I could enjoy the ice cream just as much out of a bowl. But I’m a sucker for the aesthetic of ice cream in a cone — an aesthetic that I first came to know thanks to that Arthur book.

I’m also a sucker for the cute photos I can get with ice cream in a cone that I just can’t get with ice cream in a bowl. I’m one hundred percent one of those people who will research the most Instagrammable restaurants in a city I’m visiting just so I can get something cute for my feed. Call me shallow.

If you’re wondering, the flavor of the ice cream here is Kentucky Blackberry Buttermilk, and it’s one of my favorite flavors of all time. I don’t get tired of it; I order it every time I come to this particular local ice cream shop. Rather than being super sweet like a lot of ice creams, its flavor comes from its creaminess. 10/10 would recommend.

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 home in Kentucky. 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: boutique at a flea market

Shorts: PacSun

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