January 24, 2020 – Seine It All Before (OOTD #601)

I’m going to run out of French-related puns soon. It seems like the time hasn’t come quite yet though.

The Friday before the start of classes was essentially the final day of the Sciences Po Welcome Programme. The ~official~ final day was actually Saturday, in that it was the day of the very last event, but Friday felt like the true end. It was the last day when I met with my Programme group for our méthodologie class, for one, which had been a defining element of orientation. We gave presentations in groups to show how much we’d learnt about French pedagogy (spoiler alert: my group didn’t learn much), and an instructor gave us feedback (spoiler alert: our instructor wasn’t very nice).

After that somewhat harrowing experience, Friday culminated in a Seine river tour and a party at a local club, which made it feel like a true conclusion. While Saturday still held one more event (a bus tour of the city), it was mostly optional, and so not everyone I had gotten to know from my Programme group showed up — and it was really the people who defined the whole Welcome Programme experience anyway.

Like I said in my last blog, I actually really enjoyed my experience during the Sciences Po Welcome Programme. There were about two-ish weeks in between my arrival in Paris and the actual start of classes, one of which was taken up by the Welcome Programme. Though I was afraid it would just be another hokey ice breaker-filled orientation, it was actually a really fun way to get acquainted with my new city and make new friends. It allowed me to get some more tourist-y activities out of the way (taking a Seine river tour, pour exemple) while also getting to know other exchange students.

If any of you reading this blog happen to be aspiring Sciences Po students, I’d actually highly recommend coughing up the extra 200 euro or whatever it is to participate. The friends I made during the Welcome Programme ended up being the friends I stuck with for the rest of the semester (or at least however much of the semester was in-person), and I don’t know how I would’ve made friends without it.

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That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester abroad in the Paris, France. 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 (Goodwill)

Trousers: Express

Jacket: Thrifted (Goodwill)

January 22, 2020 – Parisian Uniform (OOTD #599)

I wish I had worn this blazer more while I was in Paris.

Okay, there are a lot of things I wish I had done more of while I was in Paris. I’ll try not to harp on that too much. But after I’ve had a look through the photos on my phone, I believe this is the only set of pictures I have in which I’m wearing this beautiful yellow blazer — and that’s really quite a crime.

I also don’t think I wore this scarf much while I was in Paris either — another terrible offense. It was a Christmas gift from my Uncle Tim (yes, the one who has gotten referenced a few times before in this blog — for example, as my tour guide on my day-long layover in Philadelphia before I headed off to Rome last summer or as the giver of some of my name tag shirts), and I’m very fond of it. I also think its well-suited to France — the scarf is a depiction of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and, while Van Gogh isn’t French and while The Starry Night is housed in the MOMA rather than the Louvre, the painting itself depicts Van Gogh’s view from his asylum room in the South of France. Plus, the painting is pretty heavily inspired by the Impressionists, a movement which began in France.

This outfit is a pretty good example of what my day-to-day uniform in Paris was like. These pictures are from pretty early on in my semester, long before I had fully masted of the “Parisian look” (if I ever really did master it) but I was beginning to get a grasp of it.

Here’s the formula: Blazer or jacket of some kind, turtleneck sweater, trousers (see, the jeans here are much too casual for a French woman — especially with the tears, which are a dead giveaway that I’m American), and round wire-frame glasses. A cigarette à la main can’t hurt your chances of being mistaken for an authentic Parisian either.

I wore this outfit out to a club after the Welcome Programme activities at Sciences Po were over for the day, and I think it held up pretty well. This was actually one of my only nights out properly clubbing — as you’ll find out later, I spend most of my subsequent weekends traveling out of the city (and sometimes out of the country) so I really didn’t to go out dancing much.

(Don’t worry — I’ll stop myself before I end that paragraph with “I wish I had”).

Still, I think this night was one of the best ones I spent in Paris. The club, a place called La Rive Gauche, was pretty small, and the only people there were other Sciences Po exchange students. The DJ played a mix of international music because of the diverse crowd — I think they even played “Party in the USA” once.

I think one of the reasons why this night stands out so much in my mind as well as that it ended up being some of my first meaningful encounters with the people who became my closest friends over the course of the semester. I’d been getting to know them a little during our Welcome Programme activities, but it’s hard to really get to know anyone until you interact with them outside of the formal classroom setting. I was hesitant about the Welcome Programme at first — I thought it was silly to show up literally 2-3 weeks earlier than the first day of classes just to go through orientation — but I’m so glad I did it. It helped me make friends beyond the few Notre Dame girls I shared an apartment with, and making friends outside of that bubble was what really made the whole “study abroad” semester special to me. Wherever I go, I want to feel as much as I can like a true local, like someone who’s at home in the city she’s in — and you can’t feel at home in a city without friends who live there too.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester abroad in the Paris, France. 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: Express

Top: FreePeople

Jeans: Hollister

Scarf: My Uncle Tim

 

January 15, 2020 – Bienvenue à Paris (OOTD #596)

Finalement, je suis ici à Paris! 

It’s hard to believe that I finally made it here to Paris. It’s been a whole year since I first committed to study abroad at Sciences Po Paris for a semester, and it’s been over a year since I first submitted my application. My arrival in Paris has been a long time coming.

It almost didn’t happen either. My last blog post, I wrote about going to the Chicago visa office to submit the last of my paperwork. I thought that was going to be the end of it — I’d hand it my papers at the office, and then they would issue me my visa right there. I was deeply wrong. As it turns out, after I handed in my papers, I had to hand in my passport as well, leave it with in Chicago so they could send it all the way to Washington DC, and then, finally, they would send it back.

You can imagine how anxious I was as my flight departure date grew nearer and I still didn’t have my passport back from the DC visa office. I braced myself to have to reschedule my flight, potentially missing the Sciences Po Welcome Programme in the fallout.

I got lucky though — my passport, with my visa attached inside, arrived literally one day before my departure. A word of advice, though, if you’re going to be studying abroad in France and don’t want to deal with the stress of waiting for you passport to be returned to you via snail mail — do your visa appointment early! Don’t wait until the last second like I did.

Believe it or not, this is actually my first time in Paris. I feel like almost everyone (at least, those of my friends who had to go on international family vacations when they were kids) has been to Paris. It isn’t the number one tourist destination in the world for nothing.

My first few days in Paris were relatively uneventful. The grève, or strike, against the retirement pension reforms was still going on, so the RER and several métro lines were down, making getting from CDG Aéroport to my apartment in the 14e arrondissement more difficult that I had anticipated it being. In the end, rather than braving a taxi or a bus, I called a car service to pick me up and drive me to my apartment. It was perhaps the less “authentic” choice, but it got me where I needed to be.

After arriving at my apartment, I spent a good chunk of the day asleep. I was hardly able to sleep on the plane, despite my attempts, and so I was exhausted when I arrived. Unfortunately, since I arrived in the morning (7am to be exact), I still had a full day ahead of me to try to stay awake — a task that I admittedly didn’t do amazingly at.

When I was finally able to stay awake for more than five minutes at a time, I decided to take the bus into the city to walk around a little, as well as to get some paperwork from my landlord’s office. Completely unintentionally, as I was wandering around, I ended up bumping into the Eiffel Tower.

I still think la tour Eiffel looks a little like an overhyped telephone pole, but don’t tell the French I said that about their most iconic architectural structure. I’m sure it’s gorgeous at night when it’s all sparkling and lit up, and I’m sure it offers a beautiful view of the city if you go to the top. During the day, though, when viewed as a spectator from the ground, I think the romanticized idea of the Eiffel Tower is cooler than the reality.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester abroad in the Paris, France. 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 (Goodwill)

Turtleneck: Express

Jeans: Hollister

December 30, 2019 – Suburban Style (OOTD #594)

Being home again makes me realize how difficult it is to find good locations for photos when you’re not in a city.

Think about it — for the last six months, I’ve been traveling around from one city to another. This blog has almost become more of a travel blog than a fashion one at this point. I’ve been to Europe, South America, and the Middle East, and I’ve lived in both Washington, DC and Rome, Italy. There were pros and cons to each location, and nowhere was perfect (except arguably New York, which will always have a special place in my heart), but one thing you could say consistently with confidence was that there were always great locations for fashion photography..

December 2019 was the first time I’d been home for more than two weeks in basically a year and a half. I think the last time I was home for this long was winter break my freshman year. I’d forgotten how hard it was to find places to take pictures for my blog at home; a small suburb in Kentucky doesn’t quite compare to an ancient European city.

I have to be more creative when I’m at home. I can’t just go out and find a random pretty building to stand next to — all the buildings around are cookie-cutter brick houses. They’re not really worth photographing, and besides, it’d be kind of creepy if I used my neighbor’s house as a backdrop for my blog!

In the spring and fall, I like to get foliage and plantlife to incorporate color and variety. In the winter, I can’t really rely on those though — half of the time, I can’t even rely on the sun to be out.

I’ve found that I like this sort of “street scene” shot — I’ve done it before, and each time, it makes for a really cool set of photos, or at least, as cool as they can get for being taken in suburbia. I do what I can with what I have.

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


Jacket: Express

Sweater: Thrift (Goodwill)

Trousers: Express

December 20, 2019 – Punk Goes Christmas (OOTD #591)

You know someone loves you when they agree they do something they hate with you.

My mother hates the mall at Christmastime. In general, she’s not really a mall person during the regular season because she doesn’t like the crowds — so you can imagine why she avoids them when they’re packed with last-minute Christmas shoppers.

But I do like the mall at Chirstmastime. I like crowds, to a certain extent — I don’t like being packed like sardines on a hot summer day on the subway, but most crowds, like concerts or busy streets or malls at Christmastime, I’m actually rather fond of. I think they’re energizing, and I like people-watching, I like thinking about where all of the people are going and what they’re doing with their lives.

A few days before Christmas, my mother agreed to take a Friday off from work to spend time with me and do some shopping. I had a few Christmas gifts still to pick up, as well as an Express gift card to spend for a collaboration. She wanted to spend time with me, so she was lovely enough to come along — and also to drive me, since I don’t have a car to go on my own.

Mothers are nice like that. She didn’t even mind being seen in public with me with my ripped jeans and fishnets. I really looked the part of a rebellious teenager (though I guess I’m two years removed from my teenage years) dragging her mom along with her to the mall.

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


Jacket: Thrift

Turtleneck: Express

Jeans: Hot Topic

November 27, 2019 – Familiar Faces (OOTD #586)

The day before Thanksgiving, I asked off from work so that my good friend, Mariana, could visit me in DC.

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i failed geography

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Brookings’ Thanksgiving holiday was only Thursday through Friday, but no one was going to be in on Wednesday anyway, so I simply took off. As it turned out, my roommate from freshman and sophomore year, Mariana, was going to be driving into Baltimore for the holiday, and she offered to meet me for a day in DC before she headed the rest of the way home.

Just as was the case when Jane came and visited a few weeks previous, it was so refreshing to see a friendly face from somewhere other than the DC  cohort. Don’t get me wrong, by late November, I was really starting to feel comfortable with my group of friends and beginning to really enjoy life in the city. But even the friends I did make I had really only known for about two months; in comparison, Mariana I’ve known for two years and Jane I’ve known for nine.

Mariana, like me, is a big fan of plants, so naturally I had to take her to the Smithsonian Botanic Garden. It was my second time there (the first time being with Jane), but it was still just as magical. It’s maybe not quite as spectacular as the University of Copenhagen Botanic Gardens that I saw with Anna over the summer (that one had butterflies), but I loved it all the same.img_1388

Afterwards, we wandered around the National Mall a bit, got lunch at a vegan restaurant, visited a small Christmas market (nothing compared to the one in Munich, but still very cute), and then decided to visit the National Portrait Gallery, something that had been on my bucket list since day one.

And I’m glad I went! I love portraiture; I think in another life, I would have wanted to be a portrait artist for 19th century aristocracy and have exhibitions at art salons and hang around and drink wine and smoke all day. People have always been my favorite subjects to draw. I was a touch disappointed that they didn’t have all of the official Presidential portraits (I guess they hang in all different places — some are in the Presidential Libraries, some are in the White House, etc.), but it was a really neat place anyway.

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My favorite’s is Jimmy Carter’s — one look and you can tell that it’s from the late 70s. The beige aesthetic paired with the retro gadgets on his desk (I think it’s a pager? Or an intercom?) immediately gives it away. But rather than looking tacky or dated, it looks vintage and cool. If I’m ever President, my portrait had better be as cool as his.

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


Turtleneck: Express

Skirt: Forever21

Jacket: Forever21

 

November 21, 2019 – Last Seen (OOTD #583)

Two items of mine made their final appearance on November 21 before being lost forever — these glasses and my MacBook Pro.

That’s actually not quite an accurate statement in regards to the glasses. Their actual last appearance before I lost them forever was Monday, November 25. I don’t have any pictures of myself while wearing them after November 21, though, so I’m lumping them in with the laptop’s disappearance date.

The laptop was dead for about a week before I caved and brought it to the Apple Store. On Saturday, November 16, I took it with me to a café to do some studying with friends, where I ordered a “deconstructed sushi roll bowl.” It was rather tasty — so much so, that I decided to put the leftover bowl in my bag.

That was my fatal mistake. When I opened my bag later that day, I realized that the soy sauce from the bowl had leaked out over everything — including my laptop. I then made a second fatal mistake — trying to turn it on.

Rather than letting it rest to dry out, I immediately tried to turn it on. And it did, for about ten minutes. Then the screen went black, and it never came back.

I gave it a few days, but it became increasingly clear that it was toast. In defeat, I brought it to the Apple Store in Carnegie Library to send off for repairs, which is actually where some of these photos were taken. The rest were taken nearby with CityCenterDC’s Christmas trees.

As for the glasses, I didn’t lose those until a few days later — and even then, I didn’t realize they were missing for a few more days still. This is their last photographic appearance. More on that later.

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


Jacket: Forever21

Sweater: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Trousers: Express

November 15, 2019 – Black Out (OOTD #580)

A few years ago, I would have considered an all-black outfit to be so edgy.

I don’t think it was until my freshman year of high school that I started wearing all-black clothes. In middle school, that was too “alternative” for me — black was for funerals or business suits. Besides, the stores I mostly shopped at — Abercrombie and Hollister — didn’t sell black. Black wasn’t a cool color for teenage girls back in 2012; you were supposed to wear navy and grey and burgundy and maybe a little bit of off-white or army green. If you weren’t dressing like a) a rich kid at a prep school or b) a California beach bum, you were doing something wrong.

And then, when I entered high school, black suddenly became a cool color. Maybe it had to do with how those Victoria’s Secret PINK leggings had became widely accepted for wear as pants. Remember when that was a whole debate — whether leggings should be considered pants? Now, no one really thinks twice about it. My mother, who used to complain when I wore leggings as pants, now wears leggings herself when she walks the dog or goes to the grocery store.

By my freshman year of high school in 2013, every girl in school was wearing black Victoria’s Secret leggings, and once those had fully replaced blue jeans as go-to bottoms for everyday wear, it was only a matter of time before black became acceptable for tops too.

I know that sounds silly — how can a basic neutral color like black have ever been out-of-style? The thing was, it wasn’t really. I don’t think Seventeen or Teen Vogue were running articles in 2010-2013 about how black was a socially unacceptable color to wear. But it just wasn’t anywhere to be found in the shops that middle school girls like me frequented. Unless you were shopping at Hot Topic (and only emo weirdos shopped there), you wouldn’t find much black. Your Abercrombie cardigan with a big embroidered moose on your left shoulder wouldn’t come in black. Your Hollister floral skirt with an elastic waistband wouldn’t come in black. It just wasn’t a thing.

We’ve come a long way since 2013. Wearing all black is no longer an indication that you’re an edgy teenager — or at least, it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, it’s just a stylistic choice with no particular meaning.

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


Top: Express

Skirt: Zara (thrifted, Poshmark)

November 11, 2019 – Georgetown Getaway (OOTD #579)

Georgetown really is a getaway in relation to DC.

It’s the strangest experience. You’re walking along, through the concrete jungle of downtown DC (or is it more of a concrete forest? I’m not sure “jungle” is quite the right word, when you compare it to the proper concrete jungle, New York City), and suddenly, it all disappears — the tall buildings, the streetlights, the concrete sidewalks, all gone. You go over a bridge that reaches over a busy highway, walk past a nature preserve, and suddenly, you’re in the 18th century.

Georgetown reminds me of the more modern parts of Williamsburg. I visited there once as a kid, and I remember it being one of my favorite trips, and honestly probably part of the reason why I became a history major. It was like Disneyworld, but for colonial America. I was like a little girl seeing Elsa for the first time, except Elsa for me was a lady in an 18th century dress churning butter.

Georgetown feels worlds away from downtown DC, and yet it’s literally just a footbridge away from the main city. It’s got colorful little buildings, brick sidewalks, and narrow paths. It’s also got the Potomac River, which is always a nice view.

I wish its quaint appearance carried over into its shops and restaurants. However, as a consequence of its proximity to Georgetown University and general heritage of a rich white people neighborhood, its shops and restaurants are all rather high-end — as the kids say, boujee. It looks like a neighborhood where you’d find thrift shops and used book stores, but instead, it’s all J. Crew and Kate Spade and Moleskine.

My issues with its gentrified status aside, Georgetown is still a really nice place to walk around. I like bringing guests there because it’s normally a place they haven’t been before and a place they didn’t expect to exist in Washington DC. If you haven’t been, I’d definitely recommend you check it out.

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


Dress: Express

Coat: A vintage shop in Budapest

May 30, 2019 – Vineyards and Vino (OOTD #510)

I never expected to see the day when Notre Dame would pay for me to taste wine.

While in Rome for my internship, another Notre Dame study abroad program was going on. I actually lived really close to the Notre Dame building — like within a five minute walking distance — but I didn’t interact with the other ND kids much. They had their classes, and I had my work, so there wasn’t necessarily a lot of opportunity for us to overlap.

On some afternoons though, the ND study abroad program would have extracurricular, “cultural enrichment” activities, which interns like me were invited to participate in for free.

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take me home, country roads

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Most of the time, these were short classes, such as a crash course Italian lesson or a brief lecture on Italian politics, but sometimes, they’d be actual field trips. One day, we visited the Jewish ghetto, and another, we visited Cinecittà Studios. And one day, probably the most exciting of our field trips, we visited a winery in Frascati.

Up until I went to Italy, I wasn’t a huge wine person. In fact, I wasn’t a huge drinking person in general (and I’m still not). With the exception of the time that I attended a New Year’s Eve party at my host family’s home in France , I’d never really had more than one drink at a time. Rome changed that.

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For one, every night at dinner, I was offered wine, whether I wanted it or not. To be honest, most of the time, I did not  — but I took it more often than I wanted because it seemed that everyone around me, especially the Italians, were drinking. It seemed rude not to. I was there for a cultural experience, and drinking is inextricably woven into the Italian culture.

And over time, I found that I liked it. Does anyone really like alcohol the first time they try it? I’m inclined to say no. It’s not really the taste you’re after; it’s the effect.

Though at the wine tasting in Frascati, I have to say, I found myself going after the taste more than I ever had bothered to before. I can’t describe it to you; I don’t know enough about wine to discuss flavors. One tasted like “red” and the other tasted like “white.” They tasted a lot better than any of the other reds or whites I’d ever had before, however — not that I have much to compare them to. An authentic Italian winery’s own homemade wine isn’t really on the same level as something out of a box at a dorm party. Maybe that’s why I’d never liked wine before; I had never had good wine.

But when in Rome, do as the Romans do, as they say. And the Romans like to drink.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. 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: FreePeople

Skirt: Express (thrifted)