June 28, 2018 – Departures (OOTD #315)

This is it, guys! I’m out of the country!

After months of anticipation, I’m finally headed off to Kathmandu, Nepal in order to attend an Islamic theology and interfaith dialogue conference.

I guess I haven’t ever fully given the story of how or why I’m going to Nepal, so let’s go back a little allow me to explain. I’m a part of the International Peace Studies program at Notre Dame, and a part of that is getting a listserv email every week of announcements that I mostly don’t care about. In fact, very rarely do I actually read the Peace Studies emails because I get so many emails from various departments and clubs at Notre Dame that it’s impossible to read them all.

But for some reason, one day back in late February, I decided to actually read an email, and a particular headline caught my eye — “Spend two weeks in Nepal this summer!” Spend two weeks in a foreign country? Sounds like fun, I thought.

I wasn’t really clear on what on earth I’d actually be doing, to be honest — at first, all I was primarily interested in was the opportunity to travel. I figured if I also had the opportunity to learn something or contribute to a research project that would add to my peace studies experience, that would be great too.

So I submitted my application, got an interview (which, by the way, was low-key the best interview I’ve given in my life — you can check out the OOTD from it there), and was somehow actually accepted to the program.

Then it was time to actually figure out more clearly what I would be doing in Nepal, so I could more clearly explain to people who asked the purpose (beyond being a tourist) of my trip.

I guess that sounds bad — shouldn’t I have been more clear on what I was doing before I accepted the trip to Nepal? The truth was, I tried very hard to understand the project, but  even after reading the application several times, asking questions during my interview, and reading about Madrasa Discourses on their website, I still wasn’t clear.

What I’ve gathered at this point is that I’m to attend workshops alongside madrasa-educated South Asian and African grad students on topics like philosophy, theology, feminism, and peacebuilding. My purpose will be to contribute to these students’ discussions and offer the American perspective — not necessarily to assert that it is necessarily correct, but to offer it for them to mill over. Through these discussions, I believe the head professor, Dr. Ebrahim Moosa (a madrasa-educated man himself) hopes to contribute to these scholars’ understandings about Islam and modernity, helping to strike a balance between their traditional religious beliefs and the contemporary beliefs of 21st century society.

But anyway, that’s for me to see when I get to Nepal. Until then, my focus is getting from airport to airport without missing any flights. More travel updates to come!

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!

Top: Banana Republic

Pants: Target

March 25, 2018 – Runway Ramblings (OOTD #253)

I really need to get better at not cutting off the tips of my feet when I take my own photos.

Or like, maybe I should just get better at asking people to take a few moments out of their lives and take photos for me. That would certainly be a lot easier than hiding out in the art building late at night waiting for it to clear out so I can set up my phone on a table and use my Apple Watch’s remote feature to take the pictures myself.

To be honest, I’m kind of surprised that I’ve managed to keep this blog going (almost) every day while I’ve been at school. I think it’s good I started it back in late high school and developed it over the summer; it almost certainly would not have been something I would have started out of pure personal interest while in college. It’s kind of hard to find the time to write sometimes, even now that I’ve been doing this for a year and and know (sorta) what I’m doing.

But it’s really rewarding to get a nice comment on a blog or get paid for a collaboration with a brand, so the motivation is still always there. I don’t think it’s really my dream or whatever to ever become one of those famous bloggers who turn this into a full-time career, but it’s cool to see that even as a relatively small fashion blog, there are still benefits I can take advantage of.

It’s also nice of course to get to talk about my love of fasion and share it with others. In some alternate universe, I think I went into fashion merchandising or design. It was always something that interested me, but I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find decent work because of how competitive the field is. Maybe one day, when I’m a rich retired lady (so like, in 10 years, right?), I’ll take some sewing classes. Project Runway, here I come!

(Have I already made that point about wanting to take sewing classes as a retired old lady? It can be hard to remember everything I’ve ever written about on this blog)

Anyway, time for me to get back to schoolwork. Err…maybe more like to get started on it. I can’t go back to something I haven’t touched yet.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life here 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!

Jacket: H&M

Sweater: thrifted

Pants: The LOFT

March 15, 2018 – Springtime Cerulean (OOTD #246)

Guys look! I found some wall art in Lexington!

I’ve mentioned this many, many times but I find wall art to make for some for the best backgrounds for fashion photography. Shots like these here just support that thinking for me — all of the pretty archways at Notre Dame can’t compete with some colorful walls.

On a side note, these are some of the tightest, most uncomfortable jeans I own — though thankfully, you can’t tell that here. Seriously, I could barely bend my knees. Granted, I’ve had these jeans since like, middle school, so it’s honestly a miracle that I could even get them over my hips still. Think it’s time to give them to Goodwill.

I’m beginning to break out some of my spring clothes now, even though it still doesn’t really look or feel like spring in Kentucky or Indiana yet. Maybe my white jeans, bright colors, and polka dots can convince the sun to come out a little more?

Pretty please?

I’m also considering dyeing my hair a different color for the new season. The purple’s fading at this point and I’m presently with a kind of strange, lavender-tan mixture, so now’s as good a time as ever to do another semi-permanent color.

Leave me a comment below if you’ve got any suggestions for new hair colors! I’m not looking to use any more bleach, so I can’t do blonde (at least for now) but I’m open to other ideas for color to go on top of the bleached ends I presently have.

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!

Jacket: Banana Republic

Top: PacSun

Jeans: Abercrombie

March 5, 2018 – No Capes (OOTD #238)

This outfit/background combo makes me feel way classier than I actually am.

The residence hall behind me, Dillon (or maybe it’s Duncan?), has this wonderful little Harry Potter-esque courtyard that makes for a really dramatic, castle-like background. I don’t use it as much as I should.

The whole aesthetic reminds me of something out of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” video — something about the theatrical outfit paired with the rich manor behind me. Or, alternatively, as one of my friends passing me in the dining hall said, “it looks like something Rowena Ravenclaw would wear.”

With an already dramatic outfit and dramatic background, it just makes sense that we would also get a dramatic and well-timed gust of wind to get my cape to blow out behind me as well!

I wasn’t counting on the breeze, but I’m glad I got it! Why wear a cape if it doesn’t catch in the wind, am I right?

Actually, the cape-in-the-wind thing was mostly just a nuisance all day trying to walk around to class. I finally ended up tucking it into my backpack — which probably wasn’t a very fashionable look. There’s a reason it’s not pictured here.

As Edna Mode from The Incredibles would say: 9Ybgz.gif

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!

Cape: H&M

Shirt: Banana Republic

Skirt: Abercrombie

February 13, 2018 – Fat Tuesday (OOTD #226)

I have never once lived somewhere where Mardi Gras was a big deal.

I wish I could say I have though — it seems like such a cool holiday, at least from what I see on television and in movies like The Princess and the Frog. I have a friend who’s at LSU who went into New Orleans for the parade, and from what I saw on her Snap stories from that holiday weekend, it looked like a ton of fun.

I did go into New Orleans once a long time ago, when I was a little kid. I think my family and I were ultimately going into Florida, but we decided to stop in New Orleans for a few days to look around. I don’t remember much of what we did on that trip, as I was still on the younger side, but a few things sick out in my memory.

I think the most memorable things were the voodoo shops peppered around the city because they absolutely terrified me. I couldn’t even look at their window displays. I think it was more the visuals, like little shrunken head trinkets, that scared me more so than the actual concept of voodoo magic.

Unfortunately, as fear is such a strong emotion, that’s mainly what I remember about New Orleans. Voodoo shops, of course, were not the only things we saw there – I remember a pretty cool Mardi Gras museum with a lot of pretty dresses from the various Mardi Gras queens, I remember getting alligator jerky somewhere in a park near water, and I remember eating some really bomb cajun food on our first night there.

Like I said, one of the days, I would really love to go into New Orleans for Mardi Gras and experience it again now that I’m adult. If anything, I’m sure the voodoo shops will fascinate me even more than ever now that I’ve developed a greater appreciation for the macabre. In the meantime, I can at least sport my purple hair with a green shirt on Mardi Gras and pretend I’m festive while stuck here in South Bend.

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!

Jacket: The LOFT

Shirt: Banana Republic

Skirt: Zara

February 11, 2018 – Goth Hipster (OOTD #224)

Oh boy, is this a look.

It’s interesting, my need to do (some) sponsored posts on here really drives some of the outfits I do on this website, even when the sponsored post has nothing to do with fashion.

Take this outfit, for example. It was a Sunday – not normally a day I bother to get dressed up, but I had to get some nice selfies for a review of the Clairol Color Crave hair color I got from Influenster, which meant I had to put together a nice outfit to go with my makeup.

And since I was in a nice outfit and nice makeup, I figured I had to get photographic evidence of it. I mentioned this in a blog post a few days ago, but whenever I actually have the time to do my makeup AND wear a cute outfit, I have to document it, just to prove that it happened. It doesn’t happen often.

As for the outfit here – have you ever seen such a goth-like hipster art kid look? I joke about looking like an art kid a lot here, but I think this takes the cake.

The dramatic scarf, the all-black, the gauge-like earrings, and then my purple hair – it just screams “I went to art school and majored in design and I attend poetry slam performances on Thursday nights.”

And of course, it helps that I’m back in the art room again, taking my photos with my watch’s remote camera app while balancing my camera up on top of a drawing table.  My background is literally just a shelf with some art supplies on it. That’s an aesthetic in and of itself.

Like I said, this is a look. It’s maybe not quite everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s mine.

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!

Jacket: Banana Republic

Sweater: Thrifted

Pants: Altar’d State

February 7, 2018 – Formula One (OOTD # 221)

Here’s something I just noticed – when in doubt, I just throw a jacket on.

Recently, it seems like hardly a day goes by when I don’t wear some kind of jacket with my outfit. I mean, just look at the most recent blog posts here and here  – jackets everywhere.

I’ve discussed this a little before on this website, way back in the summer, but this is my go-to outfit formula. A jacket, skinny pants, some kind of blouse or sweater, and ankle boots – when I don’t have any clever ideas about what to wear, this is what I tend to go with. It’s safe, but it works, and it looks good.

This outfit is a little more unique with the yellow rain boots and the My Chemical Romance shirt. I like to have something unexpected to pair with even my formulaic outfits, you know? And a pop punk band t-shirt is practically the definition of “unexpected” here at the very very Catholic Notre Dame.

That’s another thing I’ve discussed on this blog – the fact that everyone at Notre Dame dresses in the same kind of rich, preppy way. There’s not much variety in the kinds of style you see people wearing around campus, not like my high school had. For one, I never see anyone trying to come in wearing gang signs, which happened a few times at my high school.

On a more serious note, there is a striking lack of diversity in fashion tastes here. Everyone looks nice, but pretty uninteresting, you know? There’s a lot of skinny jeans, crewcut sweaters, boots – you know, basic style. There’s also a ridiculous amount of bookstore-bought (overpriced) Notre Dame regalia.

I feel almost self-conscious wearing something like a My Chemical Romance t-shirt here because “emo” fashion – or any kind of goth-leaning, hipster-leaning, boho-leaning, or other more niche fashions –  seems to be such a foreign concept. I can’t imagine what people thought of me earlier this year when I dressed like a high-fashion dementor. Probably that I was a dementor.

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, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jeans: Hollister

T-shirt: Hot Topic

Jacket: Banana Republic

January 18, 2017 – Just Bro Things (OOTD #205)

Note to self: menswear + pixie haircut + minimal makeup = Meilin looks vaguely like a guy.

I don’t really think there’s anything particularly wrong with that – just that looking like a dude isn’t really what I’m personally after.

I forget what a difference in appearance this new haircut makes for me. With long hair, I really never had to worry about how masculine or feminine I looked; I could go out in guys’ clothing with no makeup and still look very definitively female (maybe not particularly nice, but female). Now, with the pixie cut, I have to be careful to actually wear lipstick, put on earrings – you know, the culturally-determined feminine things – to look feminine.

I guess it especially doesn’t help that the jacket I’m wearing here was found in the boy’s section of a thrift shop, and I’m wearing so many layers of clothing (it was a cold day!) that whatever vague hint of a feminine figure I have is hidden.

In fairness, I’m like, three feet tall, so I don’t think anyone’s ever going to actually mistake me for a male. And if they did, it probably wouldn’t be the end of the world either; I’m just a little self-conscious about how this new haircut makes me look. It’s taking some getting used to, you know?

I think part of it is that I’m going back to being brunette after having had unnaturally-dyed hair so long long. I was so used to seeing myself as long-haired and blonde (though I was shorter-haired and grey for a while) that it’s strange being brunette again – not to mention also having shorter hair than I’ve ever had in my life. I’m thinking I’m going to let it grow out again, though the low-maintenance of a pixie is particularly nice.

Or maybe I’ll dye it some unnatural shade of pink or blue for the fun of it while it’s still so short and easy to manage – because clearly what my chemically-treated hair needs is more chemical treatment!

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, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: Thrifted

Sweater: Abercrombie

Shirt: Banana Republic

Leggings: Thrifted (from a second-hand riding apparel store, of all places)

Boots: LL Bean

November 30, 2017 – On the First Day of Christmas (OOTD #172)

The Christmas season is finally here!

Well, according to me, anyway. I suppose the Catholic church may have a different definition of the advent season, and the big box stores seem to think Christmas begins as early as mid-October (seriously, I swear, while I was looking for Halloween decorations this year at Target, I was already coming across Christmas lights), but for me, Christmas begins on the last day of November.

I’m not really sure how I came up with the last day of November as the first day I start dressing for Christmas – it’d make more sense that it be the first day of December, right?  It also doesn’t make sense because I’ve designated the day after Thanksgiving as when I first begin to listen to Christmas music, so the last of November isn’t even necessarily the day I first fully begin celebrating Christmas…

I wish I had some kooky story to tell you about some imaginary fantasy I had as a kid about why I had to wait until November 30 to break out my Christmas sweaters and the red and green color combinations, but I have nothing. This arbitrary, self-imposed rule has been like this for years now, though – on November 30, I start dressing for Christmas.

And it’s my goal, from now until December 25, to continue dressing in Christmas outfits. Call it an outfit challenge. How many ways can I wear the red and green pieces in my closet? How many hours can I go in my wool Abercrombie Christmas sweater before I’m trying to itch off my pores? Looks like now’s the time to find out.

If you’re still looking for a kooky Christmas story though, I do have one about how, in first grade, I went on a loud tirade in the middle of our Christmas party about how Santa wasn’t real, and that my classmates were stupid to believe in him. I was obnoxious enough that my teacher had to pull me aside to tell me to shut up. Interestingly, though the Santa illusion didn’t last long for me, the concept of flying reindeer was significantly less unbelievable to my childhood self. I’m pretty sure wasn’t until years after my Santa realization that I  realized that flying reindeer were fake too.

To be fair, I’ve never seen a reindeer before in my life. How can I be sure they don’t really fly?

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life here 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!

Jacket: Forever21

Sweater: H&M

Pants: Banana Republic

November 27, 2017 – A Literal Glow Up (OOTD #169)

You know what’s spectacular about being a little old university student?

I’m finally beginning to feel distant from teen culture. Saying something like “glow up” feels awkward to me, like I’m not the right age to be saying it and I’m just an old lady trying to keep with the times. And furthermore, is it a Glo Up? Or a GloUp? A GlowUp?

Literally, I had to Google it to figure out how to use the phrase, which I’m pretty sure 16-year old me didn’t have to do with words and phrases like “or nah” and “bae.” What even are the kids doing these days? I don’t know; for the first time in eight years, I’m not really a part of that culture anymore.

Back to this “glow up” concept – I didn’t even use it in my title in reference to its actual meaning. My physical beauty has not increased in any significant quantity recently – though I did get more sleep than usual over Thanksgiving, so I guess that might make me look a little less battered than usual.

No, I’m just referring to the fact that in half of these pictures, my shirt is glowing like something out of a fantasy novel.

When will I learn to stop standing in direct sun when I’m wearing a white shirt? My poor 2010-era point and shoot camera cannot handle it.

Thankfully, though, I don’t think it made things look too bad – a little shiny, sure, but the rest of the photos are intact. Changing lighting conditions are just one of the many joys of outdoor photography, and one that I’m still learning how to work with. Onward and upward.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life here 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!

Shirt: Banana Republic

Skirt: Zara