October 16, 2019 – Air, The Element of Freedom (OOTD #566)

I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to have an October where it doesn’t snow at least one day.

Living at Notre Dame has completely messed with my conceptualization of normal weather.

October 14, 2019 – Pumpkin Spice (OOTD #565)

I know spooky season is long over, but I still have spooky season outfits to post about.

October 11, 2019 – Celebrate Good Times (OOTD #564)

Completing a six hour-long midterm exam counts as a “good time,” right?

It took me a while this semester before I starting having much of a good time. That’s not to say I wasn’t still enjoying myself and beginning to get acquainted with people and getting a lot educationally out of my internship — I was — but there weren’t a lot of moments I could really categorize as “fun” either. Everything I did was either work or school. I like my work and I (mostly) like my school, so no complaints there, but for a semester spent away form campus in a brand new city, I felt like I was still missing something.

I think this is the case of any short term program where you move to a new place and have to meet a whole new group of people, but it takes a long time to establish a friend group. This semester especially, I feel like it took longer than usual to figure out what I was supposed to do on weekends other than sit in my apartment and study. I got lucky my freshman year at Notre Dame in that I made friends so quickly, and I had very little of that awkward “getting to know people” phase before I had at least focused in on the people who were most worth getting to know.

It reminds me a lot of my time in Rome. In Rome, I didn’t really make my group of ND friends until about the midway point of my time there (and in the case of my friends from the Lay Centre, until literally a week before I left). It just takes so long sometimes to get settled and get acquainted with people sometimes that by the time you’re both settled and acquainted, your time’s up.

My point in discussing all of this is simply because these photos were taken on my first weekend outing I think in almost the whole semester, a celebratory dinner after the six hour midterm was over. This was the day after I took that midterm — so that just goes to show how long it took before I started doing fun stuff. I think before, I had been out with my roommates one night and then to a little alumni get-together and a movie afterwards, but otherwise, I kept mostly to myself. That was my own choice, of course. There was a group chat where people would propose plans or invite people to do things there in the beginning, so there were opportunities for me to have been more involved in a social life earlier on, but it slowly fizzled out as people established their friend groups.

But even if it took me a long time, I eventually got around to doing fun stuff. Hopefully, you’ll get to see pictures of some of that stuff in the upcoming weeks’ blogs. Stay tuned.

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!


Coat: Vintage (thrifted, Ecseri Bazaar in Budapest)

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: Vintage (thrifted, Street Scene Vintage)

October 10, 2019 – Fifty Percent (OOTD #563)

These photos were taken immediately after I took a six hour-long midterm.

I hope it doesn’t look like I had just spent hours suffering, hunched over my laptop and wrapped in a blanket, though. I made it a point to try to look nice, despite knowing I was going to have a rough day ahead of me. I don’t know if that actually helped me to get through my six hour midterm, in the end, but it made me feel better afterwards, at least.

I don’t know if I believe completely in the concept of “dress well, test well,” but I like to do it anyway. I doubt it actually helps me to do well on exams. But it does help me to ignore my exam anxiety in the morning because it forces me to focus on putting together a nice outfit and applying my makeup instead.

It was also just…kind of cathartic to get to wear something that wasn’t “work appropriate” for the first time in what felt like ages? I’ve discussed this before, but being restricted to wearing business professional attire every single day has taken me a while to get used to. As a college student, I’m used to being allowed to wear whatever I want. Going to work in a traditional office environment takes away some of that autonomy.

So, ironically, though spending all of my day working on a case brief was hardly fun, my outfit got to be more fun than most normal days. I literally hadn’t been able to wear a mini-skirt and thigh high socks on a weekday in a month and a half — and surprisingly, that was something that mattered to me.

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!


Sweater: Aeropostale

Skirt: American Eagle (thrifted, Goodwill)

 

 

October 8, 2019 – Khaki (OOTD #562)

I’ve talked about my first job as a grocery bagger (official title: courtesy clerk) a lot on this blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my uniform.

“So then what was your uniform, Meilin?” I’m so glad you asked. Every day I went to work at this particular grocery store, I wore basically the same thing: a black t-shirt with the grocery store’s logo on it provided by the grocery store, a pair of khaki skinny jeans (wait…are they still jeans if they’re not made of denim?) and my white Converse.

I still own all three of those pieces. I actually wear the white Converse a fair amount because they’re white Converse and they never go out of style, but the t-shirt and khaki pants have been sitting in my chest of drawers for years. I just can’t bring myself to put them on again — I associate them with too many bad memories of having to go out into the dark, creepy parking lot at 11pm right before close to bring in all of the carts that customers had left in the farthest corners of the lot.

In the case of the t-shirt, who cares? It’s a t-shirt. I get those for free with every event I attend. The khakis, on the other hand, are technically still perfectly wearable.

But there’s something about wearing the same pair of gross Macy’s trousers two to three days a week for an entire summer when you’re 16 that renders them cursed. I just can’t bring myself to put them on again, even though they’d probably fit (or who knows? Maybe they wouldn’t. I did eat a lot of pasta in Italy). In fact, I bought a whole new pair of Banana Republic trousers in the same khaki color (pictured here) to replace them.

Recently, I went back to my old grocery store, and I realized that the cashiers and baggers no longer have to wear the uniforms. In fact, they can even dress up a little on special occasions, like UK football games. Honestly, given the struggles I’ve had navigating the world of professional fashion, maybe I should go back to being a grocery bagger. I may very possibly have more freedom in my choice of clothes in that position than I do now as an intern at a think tank.

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!


Blazer: Banana Republic

Top: Zara

Trousers: Banana Republic Sloan

October 7, 2019 – Hitting the Books (OOTD #561)

Here’s another blog title I can’t believe I’ve never used for any of my many, many library photo shoots. 

It seems so obvious, right? Take pictures surrounded by books, come up with a book-related blog title. How many book-themed idioms are there anyway?

Apparently, not enough for my stupid idiot brain to remember them — hence, the need to “hit” the books so hard. Gotta study to make up for my general lack of brain cells.

But if this is a library photo shoot, what library is this? It’s not the familiar Club Hes or architecture library. I’m miles and miles from those. This is the library at my workplace — much smaller than any of the libraries back on campus, but honestly, maybe I like that. It’s almost never crowded, and I never have to fight someone to get a table like I do around midterms and finals at Notre Dame.

The downside, though, is there are a lot fewer places to take photos given the smaller location. I have 24 hour card access to the Brookings building (yay!) but there aren’t a lot of places that make for good photography backgrounds. There’s a nice lobby, but there’s always a security guard there, so it’s not a good place for photos. Otherwise, there’s the small library featured here and then just a bunch of offices.

What do you think — should I do a cubicle photo shoot? Pose with my landline telephone that I don’t know how to use? My broken roller chair? The leftover bag of trail mix that the last intern who had my desk left in the drawer?

Actually, maybe there’s a way I could make it work — kind of like the trendy unconventional photo shoots in laundry rooms or Hobby Lobby floral departments. Let me think on that.

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: Zara

Turtleneck: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Skirt: Forever21

October 4, 2019 – Work in Progress (OOTD #560)

I thought for certain I would have used that blog title before, but I guess not.

I think I’m finally getting into a groove with creating interesting but work-appropriate outfits. It took me a while to figure it out, but I believe I’ve got it down pat at this point. I’m finding that the key to success is good accessories, like this bolo tie-style necklace that I got for Christmas from Forever21 years and years ago.

I find it interesting to think about the pieces in my wardrobe that have wound up being enduringly stylish, especially when I didn’t expect them to do so. Like, I knew when I bought this maroon blazer that I would probably have it for a while — blazers take a long time before their design starts looking dated. Same goes for the black button-down. The bolo tie necklace, on the other hand, could have very easily been something that I ended up giving away a year later.

But it didn’t, and I still have it and like it. Sometimes, you never know.

And sometimes, things you thought would be in style for years become unwearable. I may or may not have three pairs of Uggs hidden in my closet that I purchased as a middle schooler and I now feel too guilty to give away (I spent a lot of money on them! At least in my sixth grader mindset). I thought for certain that they would be a worthwhile investment for years and years to come — guess not.

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!


Blazer: Forever21

Trousers: Zara

Shirt: Banana Republic

October 2, 2019 – Meilin v. Mosquitoes (OOTD #559)

The worst part of DC has been the mosquitoes, hands-down.

They love me, which means by extension, I absolutely hate them. They attack me whenever I stand still for more than two minutes at a time; I’m never safe. It’s the worst city I’ve ever been to for bug bites in the US. It’s in the same category in Kathmandu, and that was near the Himalayan Mountains.

For example, taking these pictures — it was maybe 7pm at night, so not too late, and in a busy part of town. It was not the place or time where I thought mosquitoes would be on the prowl. I was wrong.

Within about two minutes of setting up my phone to take some pictures, I noticed the first bite on my leg. It’s like a barely noticeable prick, almost like brushing up against an evergreen with needles.

One bug bite isn’t a problem. When I go outside for a walk in the neighborhood and I come back with ten new bites, then I have a complaint.

I guess that’s what happens when you build a city in a literal swamp. Thanks a lot for that, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. We could’ve had our capital in New York or Philadelphia, but no, we had to go to the swamp.

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

Top: ASOS

Skirt: Banana Republic

Thursday Musings – October 2019 Bullet Journal Spread

I think this may be my first time actually completing a whole month’s worth of bullet journal pages?

I believe the closest I’ve ever come before was April 2019 — and I never even posted pictures of that particular spread! Let me know in the comments if that’s something you would like to see; maybe I can do a retrospective or something featuring bullet journal designs that never made it onto my blog!

Apart from this month and last April, though, I often fail to even come close to completing all of the pages in a bullet journal monthly spread. What gets me every time are the habit tracker and mood tracker pages — they’re deceptively difficult to keep up with! You wouldn’t think filling in a square in the grid every time I go for a run would be hard, but apparently, it is, because my habit and mood trackers are almost never up to date. And they almost never get completed.

And that’s why it’s so exciting to have finally almost finished everything that I drew out for myself for October! In comparison, last October, I didn’t even draw up a bullet journal spread — I just pasted it in from a sheet of Halloween-themed stickers that my parents bought me. And despite cutting that corner and getting a fall break (which I didn’t get this year in DC) to work on bullet journaling, I still didn’t get everything filled out — hence, the gap in bullet journal posts on this blog from September 2018 to January 2019.

But I’ve been on the grind for all of September and October, and I’m hoping to keep that trend going. I love bullet journaling as a way to keep my life organized in the present, to provide a record of past events in my life for the future, and to give me an avenue to practice my art skills even if I haven’t been in an art class for over a year. To be honest, I don’t know if I can rightfully say I have a better quality of life when I keep up with my journaling…but it makes me feel put together even if I’m not.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one. 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!


Bullet Journal Supplies (with Amazon links)

Bullet journal: The Scribbles that Matter Pro, A5, 

Pens: Pilot Frixion 

Markers: Prismacolor Brush Tip  and Copic Brush Tip

Sunday Musings – September 2019 Bullet Journal Spread (in October…)

Oof, it’s been a really long time since I’ve posted one of these. 

Look, I’ve been busy. I’ve been to seven different countries and three different continents in the time since I last posted a “Weekly Musings” or a bullet journal post. I finished my sophomore year, finished an internship in South Bend, finished an internship in Rome, finished a research trip to Israel-Palestine, and made it halfway through an internship in Washington DC.

And it’s not like you missed out on much in my bullet journaling. I did a spread from April, and it actually turned out quite nicely, but I haven’t done a spread since then. Maybe I’ll post the April one a little down the line — a sort-of bullet journal #throwbackthursday, perhaps?

These bullet journal spreads just take so much time! I love doing them, but I need to sit down and devote a solid five or six hours to getting everything drawn. The reality is, they’re never really done until the month is well-over. And sometimes they’re never fully-done — you may notice that my mood tracker was never filled in for several days towards the end of the month, for example.

That’s what I love though. Because I can’t draw everything at once, I have to work on it a little bit at a time, especially with the mood tracker doodles. It’s not a daily thing, but it certainly is an every-several-days-or-maybe-once-a-week thing. It gives me a way to keep up with my drawing, even if it’s only drawing simple line illustrations.

The only part that I really try to do all at once in one sitting is the month cover page (the part that says “September” with the big drawing of the Washington DC Metro map). The cover page sets the theme and color scheme for the rest of the pages, so I have to complete it first. Ideally, I’d have it done before the month actually begins.

Well, ideally, I would have posted this blog before the end of September, so you can tell where my ideals get me.

Regardless, I hope you enjoy looking at my bullet journal spread, even if the month it’s about has come and gone. I rather like how the Washington DC public transport theme played out, especially on the cover page. The color scheme isn’t as strong with this one (I tried to do like, a red-white-and-blue thing, but it was hard), and I ran out of Washington DC doodles for my mood tracker and I had to resort to random Americana imagery, but I’m still satisfied with the overall product.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one. 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!


Bullet Journal Supplies (with Amazon links)

Bullet journal: The Scribbles that Matter Pro, A5, 

Pens: Pilot Frixion 

Markers: Prismacolor Brush Tip  and Copic Brush Tip