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)

July 28, 2018 – High on High Bridge (OOTD #337)

Look at me, back at it with the Kentucky adventures!

Today’s blog sees Amanda and me in another small Kentucky town, wandering around and trying to find something to do. We had had plans with another friend, but he canceled on us last second, and we had to go figure out what we would do without him. We had already gotten dressed and made ourselves look cute, so we had to actually go out.

We’d had some friends post some pictures at this park called High Bridge in Kentucky, so we decided to pop over there and give it a go. This is what we found.

The daredevil in me wanted to go out and climb onto the bridge and try to get cute pictures, but the practical human being in me who still fears death held me back. When I go, I want to go with flying colors, and I feel like “died while trying to get a good picture for the ‘Gram” would not look good on my death certificate.

Having exhausted the photography opportunities at High Bridge, we decided to drive back to Lexington — but not before happening upon another photography opportunity.

Honestly, I can’t even remember what prompted us to stop in this field. I think it was something about a sign that indicated there was a historical site somewhere down the gravel road. At any rate, we never made it far enough to find whatever historical site there was — we did find this field though, and this pretty sunset.

I’m a sucker for a good field, I don’t know — there’s just something alluring about a big open space under the sky. It’s the most stereotypically Kentucky sight out there, but I like it nonetheless. I complain about Kentucky a lot, but I think I complain about Indiana more. I’ll miss Lexington when I’m back in South Bend.

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: H&M

Jacket: Thrifted

Jeans: American Eagle (thrifted)

July 15, 2018 – Dans le jardin des rêves (OOTD #331)

I sure hope that French is correct.

Welp, the conference is now over, and I’m on my own in Kathmandu. Or rather, not entirely on my own — I’m with another Notre Dame student who had attended the conference — but we’re relatively alone.

I did London by myself last summer, which was no problem at all. It’s London, it’s not terribly different from the US, and in some ways, it’s even easier to navigate. The Underground is truly a marvel. Kathmandu, on the other hand, is nothing like the US, and quite impossible to navigate.

There are practically no street names. There are no addresses. There are no signs, or traffic lights, or subway systems. You can go on TripAdvisor and look up the biggest tourist attractions, and then ask a taxi to take you there, but it’s not a very good city for independent exploration — you may never be able to make it make back to your hotel!

Anyway, after a long, stiflingly hot taxi ride from Dhulikhel to Kathmandu, dropping off people at the airport and at their various hotels on the way, Allie (the other ND student with me) and I went to our BnB.

Allow me, really quickly, to say, that if you’re in Kathmandu and looking for a relatively inexpensive BnB within walking distance of the tourist district Thamel, Cocina Mitho Chha is an excellent choice. As a social enterprise, it uses its funds to maximize improvements in the social sphere — in this case, by educating underprivileged young people in hospitality skills that will allow them to get jobs in the hotel industry. The food was great, the service was great, its mission is admirable — overall, a lovely experience.

After getting settled in, we decided to go check out something called the Garden of Dreams, which was about a twenty minute walk away from our BnB. That’s where these photos are from. It was a really beautiful, and quiet spot, a nice respite from the chaos of Kathmandu.

Otherwise, we allowed ourselves to have a pretty relaxing day, not rushing around and not pushing ourselves. We did some shopping, had dinner at a bar where they showed the World Cup, and basically just tried to recover, mentally and physically, from the intensity of the conference we’d just spent the last two weeks devoting ourselves to. Or rather, we tried to relax, as much as we could, in an insane and hectic city like Kathmandu.

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: Forever21

Pants: American Eagle

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.