September 18, 2019 – Elle Woods Style (OOTD #564)

I feel weird even venturing to compare myself to Elle Woods — it feels almost sacrilegious.

Legally Blonde was one of the very first PG-13 movies I was allowed to watch with my mother. I can’t even remember how old I was — maybe fourth grade? But fourth grade-Meilin loved that movie — probably more than it deserved from an artistic standpoint. It’s a cute chick flick, sure, but it’s no cinematic masterpiece.

It was Legally Blonde and not Law and Order that glamorized the idea of being a lawyer for me. I’m sure both are wildly inaccurate depictions of the profession, but as a kid, I was way more drawn to the idea of wearing pink suits and carrying scented documents than I was to dramatic courtroom showdowns.

I’m not ready yet for the dramatic courtroom showdowns (I need to like…get into law school first), but, with my 9-5 internship, I have an excuse to wear cute professional outfits every day.

Herein lies the challenge — making my everyday professional outfits “cute.” It’s not hard to put on a pair of trousers and a blazer each morning; it’s hard to find a way to make a pair of trousers and a blazer unique and interesting when you wore basically the same thing the day before.

I’m learning, though. I’m discovering that the key to cute professional dressing is bright colors and fun accessories. If you’re relegated to wearing “work-appropriate” cuts and silhouettes, the best way to dress things up is to play up your color, pattern, and texture palette. I like wearing scarves and jackets to add layers to basics, like this plain blouse. A patterned skirt or sparkly necklace can help too.

I may not wear pink every day, but I at least try to dress as fashionably as possible, even for a boring day at the office desk. Elle Woods would approve.

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


Jacket: Ann Taylor (thrifted)

Skirt: The LOFT

Blouse: Forever21

Thursday Musings – October 2019 Bullet Journal Spread

I think this may be my first time actually completing a whole month’s worth of bullet journal pages?

I believe the closest I’ve ever come before was April 2019 — and I never even posted pictures of that particular spread! Let me know in the comments if that’s something you would like to see; maybe I can do a retrospective or something featuring bullet journal designs that never made it onto my blog!

Apart from this month and last April, though, I often fail to even come close to completing all of the pages in a bullet journal monthly spread. What gets me every time are the habit tracker and mood tracker pages — they’re deceptively difficult to keep up with! You wouldn’t think filling in a square in the grid every time I go for a run would be hard, but apparently, it is, because my habit and mood trackers are almost never up to date. And they almost never get completed.

And that’s why it’s so exciting to have finally almost finished everything that I drew out for myself for October! In comparison, last October, I didn’t even draw up a bullet journal spread — I just pasted it in from a sheet of Halloween-themed stickers that my parents bought me. And despite cutting that corner and getting a fall break (which I didn’t get this year in DC) to work on bullet journaling, I still didn’t get everything filled out — hence, the gap in bullet journal posts on this blog from September 2018 to January 2019.

But I’ve been on the grind for all of September and October, and I’m hoping to keep that trend going. I love bullet journaling as a way to keep my life organized in the present, to provide a record of past events in my life for the future, and to give me an avenue to practice my art skills even if I haven’t been in an art class for over a year. To be honest, I don’t know if I can rightfully say I have a better quality of life when I keep up with my journaling…but it makes me feel put together even if I’m not.

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!


Bullet Journal Supplies (with Amazon links)

Bullet journal: The Scribbles that Matter Pro, A5, 

Pens: Pilot Frixion 

Markers: Prismacolor Brush Tip  and Copic Brush Tip

September 12, 2019 – Order in the Court (OOTD #561)

I almost titled this “Supreme” in reference to the overpriced fast fashion company that everyone was super into for a hot minute in 2018, but I ultimately decided I disliked Supreme so much that I didn’t even want to give it a reference in a blog title.

After our class visit to the Capitol, our next stop was the Supreme Court. We’re making the rounds to the three branches of government, meaning the White House will get a post later in the semester.

If I had to choose one of the three main government buildings in DC to work in (the Capitol, the Supreme Court, or the White House) based on design alone, I think the Supreme Court would be my pick. The Capitol is huge and rather lacking in windows, and the White House just feels too much like a rich person’s house than an office building. I feel like the Supreme Court strikes a nice balance of austerity and beauty, though it too could use some more natural light.

I know these big important government buildings have to be secure so that no one can just shoot a Supreme Court Justice through a window or something, but there must be some way for them to not be so dark and cold. Maybe they could get some of those natural light bulbs that they use on plants.

To their credit though, at least they’re not in the brutalist style of some of the government agency headquarters here in DC, like the State Department or the FBI. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a building as ugly and sad-looking as the FBI — to be honest, I think that was the designer’s intent. Sure, the Capitol building could use more plants and windows, but I would say that about every structure that’s not an actual greenhouse, and those are nitpicks in comparison to some of the buildings that look like they come straight out of 1984 (the novel, not the year — in terms of years, they look more like 1964).

The Supreme Court tour my class went on was fairly short — as is the case with a lot of these tours of functioning government buildings, they won’t let you see a whole lot. We went before the court season began, so we didn’t get to see any proceedings, but they let us into the main courtroom to sit and look around for a minute. While it’s not a picture sitting in Justice Ginsberg’s chair while wearing a powdered wig, I did get this shot from the doorway, which is more than most people can say.

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: The LOFT

Skirt: River Island

September 9, 2019 – Brooking It (OOTD #560)

First days of anything are scary.

It’s strange: in one sense, you generally don’t have much to do at all, and you’re certainly not given any responsibilities that you’re able to screw up. But it feels like you are. It feels like someone’s waiting to catch you in a mistake, so they can tell you that just kidding, they don’t actually want you to work there after all. Is that just my imposter syndrome showing?

In actuality, though, my first day at Brookings was fairly uneventful. I didn’t get fired, regardless of what my anxiety kept trying to warn me, so I count that as a win.

I spent most of the day in orientation, which I mostly don’t remember, save for random bits of trivia that won’t help me in my actual work. How to compile a literature review or compose a policy memo? I’m clueless. If you need to know where the emergency backpacks are located or where to go in the event of a fire, though, I got you.

Eventually, though, once all of the orientations are over, I’d like to learn what it like working in research on a daily basis. I’ve done short-term or semester-long research projects for my various classes, but I have never devoted myself to a single, in-depth project for such a lengthy duration. I’ve been considering academia as a potential career path, and so the opportunity to intern at a think tank will be an exciting prospect to see what political research looks like in practice.

Additionally, I’d like to get comfortable working in a professional environment and gain the respect of my coworkers. I’ve worked some short internships before, but usually just for the summer and usually for only a few days a week. I’ve never made this kind of time commitment to an internship before, and I’m looking forward to getting to know people and establishing a regular routine. I hope I’ll be able to help the people at the Brookings Institution in a legitimate and worthwhile way — also not to get fired.

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: J. Crew (thrifted, Goodwill)

Jacket: Lelarose (thrifted, Clothes Mentor)

September 2, 2019 – A Monumental Semester Part Two (OOTD #559)

For part one, click here.

I think the main draw of Washington DC as a tourist destination for me is the monuments and memorials. Think about it — what can you really see in the White House or the Supreme Court? Not a lot. The average tours they give to the public only last about 30 minutes because there’s very little that they actually will allow people in to see. They have the potential to be very cool buildings, but you can’t see much of their insides, and what you can see of their outsides is pretty but not jaw-droppingly so.

So what’s left? The museums, I guess — which I absolutely respect if you were to say they’re your favorite part of DC. I’m just not a museum person. I don’t deny that the Smithsonians may be some of the best history and science museums in the world, but that only means so much to a gremlin like me that gets bored in museums. My only exception is art museums — I could spend a lifetime in those. Unfortunately, DC’s not big in the art museum scene. I guess there’s the National Portrait Gallery?

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That’s not to say DC lacks art, though — and that’s where the monuments and memorials come in. With the exception of the Washington Monument (which — I’m sorry if you’re a big Washington Monument fan — is just a giant stick into the sky), the monuments and memorials on the National Mall are really something to see.

This was my second tour of the National Mall within just a few days, though this one was a lot more thorough. Compared to last time, where we were just led around from one monument to another to explore on our own (so much on our own, that I in fact got separated from the group and never made it to the Jefferson Memorial), this time, we actually had someone explain to us what we were looking at.

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Honestly, it was almost too much explaining — it was like, a four-hour tour, and we really only saw a few things. I still haven’t gotten to see the Jefferson Memorial. Will I actually make it there before the end of the semester? Stay tuned.

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: H&M

Shorts: H&M

August 31, 2019 – A Monumental Semester (OOTD #558)

Blog title courtesy of Notre Dame’s Washington Program tagline.

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Say what you will about Washington DC being a fake city consisting of nothing but tourists and glorified temps who come and go with every election (in fact, I’d probably half agree with you), but I like the monuments and memorials.

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I don’t know, I just think they’re cool. With the exception of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (which is my favorite) and maybe to a lesser extent the Korean War Veterans Memorial, none of them are super provocative, which to me is what makes a good memorial.  However, they’re still fun to look at. No, there’s nothing emotive or honestly really even that controversial about the Lincoln Memorial. In the end, it’s just a giant statue of a guy in a chair. But you can still marvel at the artistry and technique that went into creating the giant statue of a guy in a chair.

I think, for me, that’s what makes the difference between a cool statue and a memorial — a memorial should have some form of impact for the viewer. And that doesn’t have to be in the form of controversy in its creation or design, as was the case with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (though I do find the story behind its design to be fascinating).

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A memorial should make you think or reflect on something — in the case of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, it’s to make you reflect on how terrible war is for just about everyone involved. It’s an ugly wall for an ugly war. To compare, the National World War II Memorial may have a flashy fountain and beautiful sculptures of eagles, but it doesn’t really make you think about anything but how flashy the fountain is and how beautiful the sculptures of the eagles are. For that reason, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the better memorial — even if it’s the uglier “statue.”

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Like I said, though, that’s not to say that some of the “big statue” memorials, like Lincoln or Washington or Jefferson, aren’t still fun to see. They’re just not provocative to see. Comparing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to the Lincoln Memorial is like comparing a Francis Bacon to a Pier1 Imports painting of a fruit bowl — yes, Lincoln is pretty to look at and an impressive display of technique, but what did it really make you think about? We all already know what a fruit bowl looks like, and we all already know that Lincon was a good president.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the monuments and memorials in DC that you didn’t ask for. One last opinion for the road — how long until a woman gets a memorial on the National Mall of the scale of Lincoln or Jefferson? And who do I have to know in order to get to design it?

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: H&M

Skirt: Forever21

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 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!

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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.

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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.

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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