August 31, 2018 – Living on a Prayer (OOTD #362)

What, is this the third day in a row I’ve taken photos at Bond Hall?

I’m not really sure what’s up with that; it hasn’t exactly been intentional. Believe it or not, I actually do my best to get a variety of locations for this blog. It’s a little hard when I live on a college campus and never leave though, y’know? There are only so many gothic-style tan brick buildings here.

If it makes you feel better, I didn’t exclusively take photos at Bond, though — I also went out to the basilica! There’s some variety for you.

One of these days, I almost want to go inside the basilica and take pictures. I think that toes the line of disrespectful though…which is too bad, because it’s really lovely inside of there. It’s a beautiful, quiet space, and I wouldn’t want to disturb it with a photo shoot but…well, it would make for some lovely photos. Maybe the next time my parents come to visit campus, if we can find a time when no one else is inside, I can sneak a few pictures. I think God will forgive me.

Also contrary to the norm here at L’ensemble du jour, I didn’t take photos exclusively by myself. I’ve got friends today! Or maybe they’re just people I paid to model with me…

Just kidding, I don’t have the money to pay people to model for me. I hardly have the money to afford the photo storage on WordPress. Or like, my tuition.

All the more reason to go to the basilica, right? I’ll just pray for more money — as an educated intellectual who attends the most prestigious Catholic university in the world, I can say with certainty that that is how prayer works.

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!

Top: Zara

Bralette: Aerie

Jeans: Hollister

August 29, 2018 – Back To Bond (OOTD #360)

Back to Bond, and back to the best building on campus for photos.

Even though I’m not an architecture major and thus don’t have any classes in Bond Hall, I’ve got to appreciate it for being one of the most unique-looking buildings on campus. In the midst of dozens of golden-tan brick gothic buildings, it stands alone as the singular neoclassical-inspired structure.

Plus, it’s white, which makes it excellent for fashion photography. It’s a nice blank slate — not too showy as to detract from the subject, but not boring either. I’m a fan.

You know what I’m not a fan of? The pre-midterms exam boom. It seems that, for some ridiculous reason, professors feel the need to schedule a ton of exams and papers just a few weeks before midterms, when they schedule a ton more exams and papers. I’m pretty resigned to the idea of being stressed out during midterms and finals, but I’m a little more opposed to the concept of a “hell week” that’s separate from the designated midterms/finals sequence. I didn’t sign up for this, you know?

But yeah, if you can’t tell, it’s currently my pre-midterms “hell week.” It doesn’t help that we’ve literally had three football game weekends in a row (be on the lookout for those posts soon, plus a special post from a Chicago trip), which means that I haven’t been able to use my weekends to catch up on the work I was unable to get to during the week as usual.

I’ve also got study abroad and summer internship applications to do, which complicates matters. Not to be cliché, but it’d be nice if life could slow down a little, you know? Or, rather, if it could speed up and I could get to the part where I’m an old retired lady with a lot of cats who goes to farmers’ markets in the mornings and plays bridge with her old retired lady friends in the afternoons.

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!

Top: The LOFT

Dress: Kohl’s (remember when people still shopped there?)

Boots: Ralph Lauren

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 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

August 23, 2018 – The Bend of the South (OOTD #355)

Look at me, a proper Southern Bender!

Yeah, not really. I don’t even know what the proper term is for the people of South Bend; I think the Notre Dame students call them “townies” but I don’t know what the actual South Bend residents think of that. I interact with few South Bend residents on campus, so I’m really not sure of their take on the “townie” rhetoric.

Regardless, you’ll be proud to hear — I made it back off campus again! A friend and I took an Uber to go to a Vietnamese market downtown. She specifically wanted some groceries, and I thought I’d go along just to walk around and see something other than the golden-tan brick of campus for a while.

It was a welcome breath of fresh air. Being on campus all the time, I live in the same space as I work, which means that I feel compelled, no matter what time of day it is, to keep working. There’s no physical divide between “home” and “school” — they’re the same. In other words, I’m basically at school, doing school things, 24/7. The brief moments when I can escape school and do something that’s not only distinct from school in practice, but also spatially separate from school, are my favorite.

Since we were downtown, my friend and I decided to walk around a little and take some pictures. She’s also pretty into maintaining an aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed, so we work well together when we take pictures. It helps as well that we’re similar in height and body type, so I don’t have to worry about her looming over me and taking a dreaded high-angle shot that makes me look even shorter than I already am.

As it turns out, South Bend has some cool locations for photos. It’s not as well-kept as Notre Dame’s buildings (excluding a few older ones, like Riley, that are just falling apart), but it’s a lot more diverse and interesting. I guess with economic depression, comes a lot of dilapidated buildings that fit an urban aesthetic well. Hooray for that?

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, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: Vintage (thrifted)

Skirt: Somewhere in Nepal

August 22, 2018 – Lake Pics Part Deux (OOTD #354)

Sophomore day two, and I’m already busy doing stereotypical Notre Dame kid things like taking pictures with my friends by the lakes.

Notre Dame has several locations that lend themselves beautifully to great pictures — the Golden Dome, the basilica, and the lakes, just to name a few. That’s great and all, but these locations are so pretty that no one really takes pictures anywhere else. Last year, around graduation time, my Instagram feed was full of seniors in their caps and gowns taking pictures with the Dome.

Like, I like the Dome, but I wish people were a little more creative with where they took their group pics, you know? Notre Dame’s got some really pretty photo locations apart from the ones everyone always uses — Lord knows I spent a massive amount of last year trying to scout them out. Stairwells, empty classrooms, and Riley Hall were my best friends.

Naturally, since I was just criticizing the Notre Dame student body’s lack of creativity when it comes to taking pictures, here I am with some stereotypical Notre Dame lake pics.

I mean, the lakes are a very nice photo location, and they tend to have some really beautiful light come late afternoon-early evening. I mean, just look at these. The golden hour lighting really shines through.

I did say that it was my goal to get some more interesting photo locations for my OOTD pics this year so that I don’t just keep reusing the exact same areas around South Quad, but I guess I have to make exception occasionally for the occasional Dome/lakes/Touchdown Jesus pic. Can’t have people forgetting what school I go to, right?

(Hint: it rhymes with Potre Lame)

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: Thrifted

Pants: The LOFT

REVIEW: BareMinerals Blemish Rescue Foundation Collection

Here’s fun fact: the original BareMinerals foundation was one of my first high-end makeup purchases way back when I was in middle school.

I mean, okay — BareMinerals isn’t super high-end and it’s not budget-breakingly expensive, but it was to me when I was 13. I was getting $7 a week in allowance from my parents, so a $30 purchase like the BareMinerals foundation was a big deal — if you think about it, that was over a month of allowance for me.

The sad bit was that I didn’t really like it that much — the lady in Ulta who shade-matched me didn’t do a great job because I found that after I got home and actually started using it, it was much too dark and orange-y. I also remember oxidation issues, with the foundation durning even darker and more orange as the day went on.

It made it practically useless, so even though I didn’t have any problems with the product itself, I wasn’t able to ever really wear it. And since I was 13 and only getting $7 a week, it didn’t make any sense to take the risk of another month’s money on another shade of the foundation that still might not match me properly.

So I guess you could call my attitude towards BareMinerals when I received my Influenster VoxBox was fairly mixed. On one hand, I do remember liking the coverage and texture of the product itself, and I still do rather enjoy the stick concealer I was sent for review earlier this year, but on the other, I was never able to get my money’s worth out of the original foundation, and I’m still a little sad about that. I think it’s still sitting in the back of my makeup drawer, practically unused.

But I tried to go into the review with an unbiased mind — impossible, I guess, but still worth making an effort to do. It wouldn’t be fair for me to judge this new product using my bad experience from six years ago.

In my VoxBox, I received the new BareMinerals Blemish Rescue Skin-Clearing Loose Powder Foundation in Neutral Ivory,  the Skin-Clearing Anti-Redness Mattifying Primer, and Seamless Buffing Brush with Antibacterial Charcoal. Altogether, it’s about $83 worth of product, so I’ve got to give it to BareMinerals for being super generous.

Firstly, as these products are marketed for their skincare benefits as well as their general cosmetic use, allow me to give some background on my skin. It’s best described as combination. My biggest issues are mild acne and sensitivity. I’m 19, nearly 20, so my pimples aren’t quite as bad as they were when I was 13, but they haven’t really gone away entirely either. It’s mild enough that with good makeup, I can pretty much cover up everything I need to, but without, it’s pretty obvious that I have a smattering of pimples on my temples and between my eyebrows. The worst for me is when, due to the benzoyl peroxide spot treatment I use, I wind up with a patch of dry skin surrounding a pimple that hasn’t yet gone away. An ideal foundation for me would be light enough that I could use it on the parts of my face that don’t really have any issues to smooth away the mild imperfections, but buildable enough that I could apply it to my acne-prone areas and conceal them without highlighting the dryness there.

Now onto the review — I’ll go in order of application, so let’s begin with the primer. Out of the tube, it’s a green paste-to-gel -like substance meant to correct ruddy tones in the skin. I assume it would appeal to people with acne all-over as it would, in theory, correct the redness of pimples.

I’m no stranger to green color correcting products. There was a time in middle school where I used a green concealer religiously to conceal redness on my cheeks. I never really got into green primers though, as I generally found that the color-correcting properties of a green product were best when used sparingly, but in concentrated amounts, rather than all-over. I believe the same rings true for this product. I just don’t think the green is strong enough to do anything. As for the other qualities of a primer — texture, staying power, mattifying-effect — I’d say it’s just average. It’s not bad, but there’s better out there.

The foundation turned out to be the pleasant surprise of this review. I had wondered if I would have the same oxidation issues I’d had with the original Bare Minerals foundation, but I have not had that problem at all. The color is slightly darker than I would have chosen for myself, but it’s not so far off that I can’t use it.

The best part was easily the buildability and texture. It did just what I wanted it to — went on light on my less-problematic areas, and built up to heavier coverage with some stippling in my acne-prone areas. For that, I have to give it credit.

The worst part is an issue not exclusive to this product, but that applies to all powder foundations — it’s messy to put on. If you’re looking for something to just slap on and go, this is not it. While application itself isn’t too hard — I just buff it on, with a bit of stippling for more coverage — it’s getting the powder out of the container and onto the brush that’s difficult to do with being messy.

As for the brush, it, like the primer, is perfectly serviceable. Not great — there are better buffing brushes out there for less money (I personally like the Real Techniques buffing brush). But this one’s soft, picks up product well, and is stiff-enough for buffing, so it functions as it is supposed to. My main complaint is the shape — it’s short and fat, so it doesn’t fit in my brush-holder with the rest of my brushes. I can’t really speak to the “antibacterial charcoal” claims. It sounds like a label they just slapped on there to make it seem more hygienic, but I don’t know — maybe the charcoal really is more sanitary.

Finally, what about the skincare benefits? Did I find that my acne improved thanks to using this product?

Well…I don’t know. To be honest, I didn’t use it for long enough to be able to assess its long-term skincare effects. Additionally, one’s skin condition is affected by such a wide variety of factors that I don’t know if I’d see the effects unless they were drastic and fast. Which, for this product, they weren’t — that’s not to say there wouldn’t potentially be benefits from long term use, but I just can’t say with the few days I’ve taken over the last month to test this out. Alternatively, maybe my acne would get worse. I just don’t know.

All I can assess this product fairly on is on its ability to function as a foundation. And you know what? It’s actually pretty nice. It’s way better than the original Bare Minerals powder I tried out six years ago, and I would say that if you, like me, didn’t really like that one, you may still find that this new one is a pretty decent product. You could probably pass on the brush and the primer though. They’re serviceable, but there are better options out there for less money.

Summary:

Primer

Pros:

  • Perfectly serviceable

Cons:

  • Why settle for serviceable when you could find something for less money that works better? (I’m personally a fan of the Revlon Photoready Primer)

Foundation

Pros:

  • Light-to-medium buildable coverage
  • Doesn’t oxidize!
  • Wide range of color selections
  • Smooths over my dry patches without emphasizing them

Cons:

  • Messy, time-consuming application

Brush

Pros:

  • Perfectly serviceable

Cons:

  • Why settle for serviceable when you could find something for less money that works better? (In my opinion, the Real Techniques buffing brush is a good substitute)

Have you tried the new BareMinerals Blemish Rescue collection? Or do you have any suggestions for your favorite foundations? Let me know your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries and collars, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

August 21, 2018 – Not My First Rodeo (OOTD #353)

Nope, it’s my second!

I present to you, my outfit from the first day of school this year. The dress is one of my current favorites in my wardrobe. Something about it gives me mailman vibes, I don’t know. I actually almost wore a newsboy with it, but then I think the mailman aesthetic would have been a little too strong — best to keep it subtle, yeah?

As the years go on, first day of school outfits are becoming less and less of an affair. I remember back in middle school how many hours I would obsess over getting the perfect outfit for the first day — likely just to never wear it again (I would still wear the pieces, but never in the same combination).

Not that no effort or thought went into this outfit, because they certainly did, but it’s just not the painstaking research project that a first day of school outfit used to be for me. And you know what? It’s probably for the best.

Everyone gets dressed up on the first day of school; it’s actually quite hard to stand out as nicely dressed when literally every other girl on campus is also nicely dressed. The real testament of a devotion to fashion is if you can keep dressing nicely halfway through the semester. When all the other students are rolling in with sweatshirts and yoga pants, it’s much easier to make a statement.

Not to be elitist though — I have definitely done the sweatshirt and yoga pants look. I once had to run bare-faced in just leggings and a pullover sweater to my 10:30 drawing class. It was so bad that I had to bring my cosmetics bag so that I could sneak to the bathroom during a break and put on makeup.

Here’s to hoping I’m able to maintain a track record of cute outfits and good makeup this year! Oh, and not fail my classes. That might be important too.

Dress: Vintage

Scarf: My mother’s closet

August 18, 2018 – Not Quite An Ivy League (OOTD #350)

Day 374: the locals are getting suspicious. I believe they’re beginning to realize that i am not, in fact, a piece of ivy.

There’s nothing like sitting yourself down in a patch of ivy in the math building’s courtyard for the sake of your fashion blog. Thankfully, there were no classes going on, so I was at little risk of getting “caught” taking photos by myself, but it was still a little awkward, nonetheless.

If there’s anything this blog has taught me, it’s how to ignore how awkward it feels taking pictures in public. Here’s my secret: I just don’t think about it.

I know, that’s horrible advice — just don’t be nervous, and you won’t have anxiety! Just don’t be sad, and you won’t have depression! In this case, though, and probably this case only, it works for me. If I can ignore how uncomfortable I feel by focusing on acting like I’m confident and self-assured taking photos in public, I find that my actual anxiety lowers as a result.

But in general, what I like best is taking photos away from the curious (sometimes judgmental) glances of strangers. That’s why this ivy garden worked so well. It was just me and the plants, and as you know, I love me some plants. 

In an ideal world, humanity would have somehow developed a technology to make plants sentient, and I’d just have the plants take pictures for me instead of people. I guess if the plants were sentient then they could still be judgmental…I guess this plan’s a bit flawed.

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!

Sweater: thrifted

Top: thrifted

Shorts: Forever21

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