January 22, 2019 – Primary Construction (OOTD #442)

You know that big iconic building on Notre Dame’s campus with the golden dome on top? Here’s the inside of it.

You’d think that, being such a prominent feature of Notre Dame culture, that Main Building would be somewhere the students go all the time. It’s even got a (boring) name like Main Building that implies its prominence. But nope — in actuality, I almost never venture inside here.

There are no classrooms, no restaurants, and no study spaces, and so there’s no reason to go. About all of the space in Main Building is devoted to offices, and whatever’s left is for Father Jenkins’s living quarters (probably?), storage space for the Christmas tree, and some questionable murals of Christopher Columbus. In fact, if you have to go to Main Building for a meeting, it implies that something out of the ordinary is going on.

And for me, visiting Main Building on January 22, something out of the ordinary absolutely was going on! I had just received my acceptances to study abroad programs, and I had a few questions to ask of my advisor. As it turned out, her office was in Main Building.

Long story short — this coming fall, I’ll be studying in Washington DC, and in the spring, I’ll be studying in Paris at Sciences-Po. There’s a lot more that went into that meeting with my advisor and my decision-making process, but I’ll spare you the details for now. I know it’s a subject that’s going to come up a lot in the coming months as I start getting ready to go.

Anyway, on my way out from my meeting, I decided to stop by window and get some pictures of my outfit. Going into Main Building is a momentous occasion — I had to get some photographic evidence to preserve for future generations.


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!

Turtleneck: Free People

Sweater: Forever21

Pants: American Eagle

December 28, 2018 – Group Tours (OOTD #430)

Traveling in a large group is hard.

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doha more like whoa-ha

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Over my last several experiences traveling, I’ve come to the conclusion that the more people you’re with, the more complicated it gets. Trying to coordinate schedules, preferences, budgets: it’s all so much, and in the end, passive aggressive arguments and frustrations always break out.

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winter break adventure # 1 was alright, i guess

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Being alone is also not ideal either, though — who are you going to get to take your photos? The best travel situation has to be just one other partner.

And so for today’s Doha adventures, I gave up on trying to hang out with the group if it didn’t suit me. The previous few days, I had been trying so hard to hang out with as many people as possible, to give everyone my attention who wanted it. But that was exhausting, and in the end, I wasn’t having as much fun as I think I could have been. So I decided to go off and do what I wanted, and if people decided to join me, then I wasn’t going to stop them.

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small person, large city

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Our first stop was the Corniche, which I had seen lit up at night the previous day. I was expecting to be uninterested, as I had already seen it before, but seeing it in the day time really made a difference. Nighttime, with the bright colorful lights, was a little cooler, but I have to say that daytime was a spectacular sight as well — it looked like something out of a futuristic sci-fi film. Plus, I got some cool photos, which is usually my measure for if I  had a good time at a tourist site.

State Grand Mosque was next. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually get to go in. We, the American students, were supposed to have been allowed in — but, without hair coverings, the woman at security wouldn’t allow us in as non-Muslims. Instead, we sat outside with a few other Muslim women who decided to keep us company, either in solidarity or disinterest in going in to pray.

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let’s talk mosques

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After that slight disappointment, we moved on to a collection of museums. I don’t really have any photos from here, since in my opinion, there wasn’t much to photograph. One of the museums we saw, the slavery museum, was actually quite fascinating and very well done, but it wasn’t a place for fashion pics, you know?

Then, we went back to the Souq Waqif marketplace for shopping and dinner, making it my third time in three days that I had been there. By now, the Souq’s uniqueness had worn off, and its twisting alleyways and street vendors were no longer novel to me. I devoted myself to a single task — finding a scarf to buy — and avoided distractions as much as possible. With only an hour before we had to meet for dinner, I had to stay focused, or else risk leaving Qatar having withdrawn $40 in Qatari Riyals and having spent none.

The last stop for the night was the Corniche once again, so that those who hadn’t seen it lit up at night before could see it for the first time. For me, having seen the Corniche three times now (once in the day and now twice at night), I was basically a seasoned Dohan (Dohian? Doher?) local. The skyscrapers, with their bright pink and orange and  purple lights, still left me in awe.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my travels. 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!

December 15, 2018 – Rerouted (OOTD #423)

Welp, that didn’t’t go as planned.

My semester had ended, I’d finished up all of my finals, and I thought I knew for certain what all of my grades were going to be.There shouldn’t have been anything else left to worry about — everything was supposed to be set for me to make it home by 7PM on Saturday night.

So why then did I not make it back until 10AM the following morning?

That’s an excellent question, and one I’m still asking myself. See, I was supposed to have two flights — one from Chicago Midway at 10AM to Atlanta, and another from Atlanta to Lexington at 5PM that would have gotten me home by early evening. Why not just one direct flight from Chicago to Lexington? Because money, that’s why — I basically always fly as cheaply as possible.

Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea this time, however, because after I made it to Atlanta, all of my troubles began. I shouldn’t have been surprised because I hate the Atlanta airport — the last time I was there, I got trapped for two days after a bad storm in the Southwest trapped the entire airport full of people, meaning that Amanda and I, as two sorry idiots who flew standby, were stuck there until two spots finally opened up for a flight to Lexington. This time, I made it out of Atlanta alive and on time, but my flight didn’t reach my destination. Instead, it got rerouted to Indianapolis 15 miles away from our destination.

Apparently, the runway lights were out or something. I don’t manage airports, so I can’t claim to know how everything works, but it strikes me that that’s not an issue that you should allow to happen. Anyway, my flight couldn’t land, and so they flew us all to Indianapolis at 10PM at night, three hours after we were supposed to have landed in Kentucky.

In Indianapolis, they made us sit there for an hour before they finally decided to cancel the flight, at which point, they shoved us all into the airport with some hotel vouchers. Unfortunately, the troubles didn’t end there.

They put us in a (crappy) hotel about 10 miles away from the airport. I felt so badly for the hotel staff — they clearly were not prepared for an airplane-load of people to show up at 10PM at night. They only had one shuttle, and the shuttle could only take 10 people at a time, which sucked for the airplane full of people who were stuck waiting out in the cold as the shuttle made the 30 minute trip back and forth from the airport to the hotel. Then, of course, when I finally made it to the hotel at about 11PM at night, the poor lone person standing there at the desk was still struggling to make it through the line of people waiting to get rooms.

I don’t think I made it up to my room until about midnight — and at that point, I only had five hours until it was time to get up again and catch the shuttle to get back to the airport for my 7:30AM flight. Resigned to my sad fate, I took some pictures of my outfit (because I figured this was too good of a story to not give it a proper blog post treatment — and also because I liked this outfit), and got a few hours of shut-eye before dragging myself back to the airport.

Thankfully, though, our flight departed on time, and I finally made it back home. It was over 12 hours later than I was supposed to be — and basically 24 hours after I departed from school on Saturday morning. Can you believe that? It took me 24 hours to make it from Chicago to Lexington, which, by plane, should have taken two hours — four if you count the bus ride from campus to Midway.

I don’t think it was my worst travel debacle, but it’s up there. Maybe #2, after the other Atlanta tragedy that I mentioned earlier. I do love to fly, don’t get me wrong — but I don’t love it when I get stranded at airports and bus stops and creepy hotels for 12 hours at a time.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life as a world traveler. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: Thrifted

Sweater: Thrifted

Shirt: J.Crew

DressAmerican Eagle

October 15, 2018 – The Continuing Adventures of Fall Break (OOTD #393)

Fun fact: these photos happen to have been taken at the same Mexican restaurant as the photos from this post. 

Fun fact #2: these photos were also taken right after I got a haircut, which is the same as what happened after that same post.

Haircuts for me take a ridiculously long time. For one, I’m not just getting my hair cut — I’m also getting it bleached and colored. Even when I’m just having my roots done, it can take a long time to apply, then a long time to sit as I wait for it to have an effect, and then another long time to wash out. And then, an even longer time as I wait for the whole process to start over for a second time, since my hair is so dark that it requires two rounds of bleach in order to lighten it to blonde.

Haircuts are basically a whole-day affair. It’s worth it, and it’s so much better having it done than trying to do it on my own, but I can basically count on doing nothing else all day but sitting in the stylist’s chair and watching afternoon television.

So after my exhausting day of sitting in the stylist’s chair and watching afternoon television, it makes sense that I should reward myself for a job well done — hence the Mexican restaurant afterwards. I have to rejuvenate myself with nachos after working so hard all day.

Everyone criticizes my generation of being lazy, but I disagree — it’s hard work being a full-time student for three months straight. You never get to escape school. You live there, so it dominates every moment of your time on campus. Getting to go home, away from school, and indulge in sitting in a hair salon for an entire day without anything to do — that’s what break is made for.

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 Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: Forever12

Sweater: American Eagle

September 11, 2018 – Power Stances Only (OOTD #372)

You’re welcome to disagree with me, but I personally really feel like my posing has gotten better over the last year or so on this blog.

I can’t pretend I’m a fashion model or anything, or that any of the producers at Marvel are going to want me on their next superhero film poster, but I have certainly gotten more comfortable in front of a camera. While I definitely have my preferred stances that I come back to repeatedly (see: playing with my hair in some way or twirling), I do those stances pretty well. At least, I think I do.

It’s going to sound silly, but I’ve found the best way for me to improve how I look in photos is to experiment by myself by taking pictures on my own. When I have someone else take my picture, I’m always hesitant so as not to waste their time, so unless it’s a friend whom I’m already very close with, I tend not to ask much of them in terms of retaking things that don’t look quite right. When I’m on my own, just using the remote timer feature of my Apple Watch to snap shots with my iPhone, I don’t have to worry about wasting anyone’e time.

Well, my own, I guess. I can say that I have definitely done that before.

Honestly, the best “posing practice” I’ve ever gotten has probably been last semester, when I would hang out in Notre Dame’s art building late at night studying or working on projects. I’d wait until the building cleared out, or at least mostly cleared out, and then I’d prop my phone up on a chair and start practicing. No one was there to judge me, and I could try out any number of dumb poses to see what worked.

Essentially, it was the adult version of making funny faces at yourself in the mirror.

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power stances only

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I’ve also found that just keeping up with other fashion bloggers and Instagrammers to see what kinds of poses they tend to use, and then replicating those, works too. Obviously, not every pose or angle will work for everyone or for every outfit/background combination, but it’s good to experiment. I’ve taken to posing with one leg crossed in front of the other while I lean back a little on the back leg (which, obviously, because I’m writing about it here, I wouldn’t have any examples to show you in this blog — check this one though if you want to see what I’m talking about) because I learned from other petite bloggers that it makes your legs look longer.

I actually keep a Pinterest board for Instagram inspiration — backgrounds, poses, ideas for photoshoots, anything I think could make for a nice addition to my feed. It’s also great to have around if you and a friend are in the mood to get cute pictures together, but you can’t think of what would make for a good post.

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 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!

Jacket: Anthropologie

Top: Abercrombie

Jeans: American Eagle

(Lots of A brands today, no?)

September 7, 2018 – Plant Aunt (OOTD #368)

Dang, I can’t believe that, with all of my plant-themed blogs, I haven’t used that title before.

I’ve mentioned my interests in plants many, many times before on this blog, but until this year, it hasn’t been much more than just that — a personal interest. This semester, though, I got into a one-credit course called Local Flora, which is about local plant life in Northern Indiana. It’s honestly been one of my favorite classes I’ve taken here at Notre Dame so far, and it has nothing at all to do with my actual academic concentration.

With this class, I get to go out and learn to identify plants. I’m admittedly not that great at it, but I’m learning. Because it has nothing to do with my major, I admittedly don’t devote as much time to doing the readings and homework as I should, or as I would like to.

In some alternate universe, maybe I became a botanist. Realistically though, my interest in plants will likely never amount to anything more than a garden and a collection of indoor potted plants.

I believe that there have to be a lot of alternate universe versions of me that went off and decided to pursue interests other than law and international relations. I hope that one of my alternate selves is an artist, and maybe another took Adv. Human Anatomy earlier than senior year and decided to become a doctor. Maybe one actually decided to pursue a career in the military, like she’d always sort-of considered.

At any rate, I’m here now — and maybe this version of me will end up becoming a famous blogger. I’ve still got my fingers crossed. The YouTube career I’d always wanted as a middle schooler is probably never going to happen, but I’ve still got this. Granted, I’ll never become famous if I continue to put off writing blogs until 9PM at night but…shhhh.

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 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!

White Top: Altar’d State

Pink Top: Forever21

Jeans: American Eagle

August 30, 2018 – Denim-Denim-Denim (OOTD #361)

Hey, here’s a joke: what does Mario wear?

Denim-denim-denim…denim-denim-denim…get it? Like the tune of the Level 1-2 underground theme?

It’s okay if you don’t get it; it’s a joke that’s better suited to being told aloud.

For some reason, my blog has been full of Mario references recently. I’m not sure if there’s any meaning that can be derived from that — apparently I’m just super into mushrooms and denim outfits right now.

I do have a Luigi costume hat somewhere in my closet back home that I got back in 2013 during a Year of Luigi promotional event. One of these days, I’ve got to actually incorporate it into a Halloween costume. I’ve got all of the individual pieces — the hat, the overalls, the boots — I just need to put them together. Oh, and maybe find a friend who’d be willing to play Mario. That might be the more difficult part.

Today’s pictures were taken inside Bond Hall, which is notable in that I’ve only ever done the outside of Bond before. It actually took a surprising amount of effort to get these shots. I felt like every few seconds, someone was walking down the steps and getting in my way. Or rather, I was getting in theirs.

If there’s an alternate reality where I don’t feel awkward posing for photos in public, I’d sure like to discover the portal to it. I’m definitely getting better, and I’ve come a far way from where I was this time last year, when I felt anxious literally every time I had to take pictures for my blog. I’m still not quite shameless yet, though.

At least, in regards to photography. I am shameless with my jokes. Hey, you wanna hear another Mario one?

What did the green mushroom say to Mario? Get a life!

Top: The LOFT

Jeans: American Eagle

Scarf: American Eagle

August 24, 2018 – Upon the Football Field (OOTD #357)

Whoops, looks like I did that thing again where I accidentally posted my blogs out of order.

It’s a rare occurrence (sarcasm), but sometimes, I do make mistakes with this whole blogging thing — skipping posts, posting things out of order, not posting for days on end, etc. Thankfully, due to the fact that I am a 99.9% perfect creature, these mistakes are relatively rare. This just happens to be part of that .1% of times where I’m flawed.

Of course, I’m kidding — I make loads of mistakes with blogging. It’s a hobby of mine, not a profession, so I don’t feel the need to apply my normal perfectionistic eye to every post. My following is relatively small, so there’s no one there to see if I fail — which is just the right kind of low pressure environment that I love.

The tl;dr of it all — I posted August 26’s blog before August 24’s. Sue me.

August 24 was actually a pretty fun day. Classes had just begun, I wasn’t swimming in homework like I feel like I am now, and I could kind of just enjoy being on a college campus without the stress of actual college. It was the first Friday of the school year, and, as is tradition, there was a showing of the film Rudy on the football field.

I mostly just went for the opportunity to take photos on the football field. I mean, I’ve seen Rudy before — I even saw it last year as a part of the same Friday Flicks series. I can see Rudy whenever I want, but this is is the only time during the year where I’m actually able to walk out onto the football field. Honestly, maybe it’s just the rarity of the opportunity that makes it exciting for me. Otherwise, it’s just a football field.

Don’t let anyone know that I think it’s just a football field though — I don’t need the Notre Dame secret police catching me and getting me expelled. Rumor has it, Father Jenkins has ears everywhere.

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!

Top: Target

Bralette: Aerie

Pants: American Eagle

August 17, 2018 – Club Hes (OOTD #349)

Up next in Meilin’s collection of glamorous photo shoot locations: the thirteenth floor of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library!

Now that my parents are gone and they’ve stranded me in the middle of a Northern Indiana cornfield (gotta love South Bend), my photo locations are more limited. Gone are the days of going to downtown everyday for lunch — even though I only got to do it for two days while my parents were here helping me to move in, I’m going to miss it.

I’ve not quite gotten into the habit of asking my friends to take pictures for me, and besides, a lot of them haven’t moved in yet or otherwise are busy with Welcome Weekend activities or band camp. Since I was on my own, I figured I’d go off to the library and do some work and take some pictures.

I have a mixed relationship with the library. I have some fond memories of going my first semester last year and finding some much-needed solitude and quiet in the upper floors, but I also have some downright miserable memories of feeling isolated and alone late at night. One of the weirdest things is taking a desk somewhere in the upper floors where you can’t see a window, and then emerging in the evening to find that the sun has gone down and everyone’s gone to bed. Time kind of stops from floors seven and up.

Very rarely do I ever get the entire floor of the library to myself. Typically, if I’m in Hesburgh Library — also known as Club Hes — and I’m by myself, it means that it’s some inhumanely late hour of the night, and I may or may not only be there so late because I accidentally took a nap at my desk at some point. But since very few people had moved in yet, and because even those who have had no reason to be studying in the library, I got a coveted window seat all to myself.

So naturally, I put it to good use — as a perfect location for some well-lit selfies.

I think I got some actual work done as well, but it was mostly just photography. That’s work too, right? Sort-of?

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: thrifted

Pants: American Eagle

Scarf: American Eagle

August 11, 2018 – Danville Days (OOTD #343)

Actually, I guess it was more of a Danville night — I was only around town for dinner.

For those of you who don’t know, Danville’s a small-ish town in Central Kentucky, about an hour south from Lexington, my home. I’ve been a few times, and every time I go, I’m thoroughly impressed by how quiet it is. Take “quiet” with whatever connotation you’d personally like to assign to it: for me though, I find it a bit boring.

In fairness, I went on a Saturday night, and Danville’s not really a Saturday night kind of a place — maybe more of a Sunday morning place, after everyone’s gone to church. We walked around around 7pm, and it was pretty much dead downtown. Perhaps if I’d been there at 11am the next morning, I would have actually gotten to see the little bakeries and coffee shops in operation.

I did get to go into a Goodwill, though, which was a good idea in that I found a cute jacket and a sweater. It’s not really jacket/sweater season but…that never stopped me.

I had dinner with my friend, Amanda’s family, and after that, we drove back to Lexington. On the way back though, we made a brief stop at a little church we saw on the roadside.

There really wasn’t a good reason why we decided to stop at the church: we just thought it looked cute. I know, a little one-room white church in an empty field is hardly a rare sight in Kentucky, but I feel like I never actually stop and look at them, for as many as I pass on the road. It was locked up (and possibly abandoned? Looked pretty dusty in there), but I still got a nice photo or two of it with the sunset in the background. Just feature my work on my own inspirational “Old Kentucky Home” poster, already.

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: Free People

Jeans: American Eagle (thrifted)