February 8, 2020 – La Campagne de Champagne (OOTD #607)

For my non-French speaking readers, the title here means “champagne country” — of course, “champagne” is a pretty obvious direct translation, but “campagne,” which means “country” or “countryside,” is less so. They rhyme, which is fun — making them a good combination for a fun blog title.

Once again, I have a blog that features a short day trip that I took over the weekend to get away from Paris. I promise, I’ll get back to Paris soon — though it may take several more posts. Up next is my week-long “ski holiday” from school, and I’ve got seven countries worth of photos to talk about before I work my way back around to home base.

This time, the second weekend after classes began, my friends and I visited Reims, a small town a short bus ride outside of Paris in the middle of Champagne country. I actually didn’t really want to go at first — I was feeling really under the weather, and I knew everyone would wan to go on a champagne tour, and I had pretty much completely lost my sense of taste and smell from congestion.

Or at least, I thought it was just the congestion at the time — but looking back at February 2020 from my perspective writing now in December 2020, I’m not convinced I didn’t actually have COVID. Back then, COVID was just a distant news story from China. It had barely touched Europe, or at least it wouldn’t in any kind of substantial capacity for at least another few weeks, and I’m not even sure we’d recorded our first case yet in the US. I had a stuffy nose and a cough and a headache, but at the time, there was no reason for me to believe it was anything outside of a regular cold that came from traveling to a new country and being exposed to new germs. Simpler times, I suppose.

Whether it was COVID or not, I guess I’ll never know. I did decide to travel to Reims anyway, despite feeling a little ill (not something I would ever do now!) because I didn’t want to miss out on a group bonding trip. I’d enjoyed our trip to Bordeaux quite a bit, though I thought the group was slightly too big. The cohort for Reims was a little smaller and more intimate — perfect for traveling. There were enough of us that you always had someone to talk to, but small enough that it wasn’t like pulling teeth to make a decision or dragging our feet hauling a massive crowd around.

We’d had the pleasure in Bordeaux of being able to take a guided walking tour in the morning before our wine tour, but there was no such thing in Reims. Instead, one of our friends, Liam, who’d done an exchange in Reims when he was in high school, took us around to the major sights. We saw a church (also called Notre Dame, interestingly), a castle museum, and stopped in a bakery for croissants — typical European city tourist things.

In the afternoon, we went on a champagne tour, the main attraction of Reims. Unfortunately, I still didn’t have my full sense of taste and smell, so I wasn’t able to enjoy the actual tasting quite as much as I would have liked. I’m no connoisseur of drinks though, so I’m not sure how much of a difference it would have made. All champagne kind of tastes the same to me.

Don’t tell the people of Reims I said that, though. Their city really was lovely — It wasn’t crawling with tourists, unlike Paris or even, to a lesser extent, Bordeaux. Reims reminded me in many ways of Vichy, another small-ish town that I’d visited back at the start of 2019. That feels so long ago now.

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


Sweater: Thrifted (Free’p’star Paris)

Jacket: Thrifted (Free’p’star Paris)

Skirt: Abercrombie

February 3, 2020 – A Hill to Die On (OOTD #606)

Montmartre rivals the Great Wall of China I think in the amount of steps I had to climb at a tourist spot.

Well, actually, come to think of it, there was a temple in Nepal that was supposedly 1000 steps to the top that I tried to climb, but it ended up getting dark before we made it up more than a few hundred. To be honest, I’m not sure I could’ve made it up all 1000, so I was grateful for the sunset giving me a valid excuse to bow out from the hike.

This was actually the second time I visited Montmartre within my first week or two in Paris — the first time, though, it was dark and I was there with my Welcome Programme group to visit a bar. I didn’t even bother trying to see Sacré Coeur, the grand church atop the hill, because I figured there wasn’t anything to see in the night.

The second time, though, I visited in the day — a much more appropriate time to visit, in my opinion. For one, you’re at much less risk of tripping and twisting your ankle as you climb up the steps. And secondly, you can actually see the beautiful surrounding neighborhood.

I wouldn’t call Montmartre the most spectacular view of Paris, as you can’t clearly see the Eiffel Tower, which is, of course, the most famous landmark of the Parisian skyline. Unfortunately, however, since my time in Paris was cut short due to COVID and I wasn’t able to make it to all of the tourist spots I’d wanted to visit (including the top of the Arc de Triomphe or the Eiffel Tower, where some of the best skyline views of the city can supposedly be had), Montmartre ended up being the only skyline view I got.

More impressive than the skyline view (or the Sacré Coeur Basilica, in my opinion — Sacré Coeur seemed to be more spectacular from the outside than I think it really was inside), was the cute little artist community that the neighborhood is known for. People talk about the Montmartre area of Paris for its small town feel in the middle of a big city, and I think that description is deserved.

I wouldn’t call Paris a “hustle and bustle” kind of a city — not like New York — but it certainly can be overwhelming at times. It can be crowded and dirty in places and full of tourists. That was what I liked best probably about my short visit to Bordeaux the previous weekend — that I was away from the business of the city. While Montmartre was certainly still busy and full of tourists (what a world pre-COVID times were), it still felt a little more charming and cozy than downtown Paris. Paris is beautiful and elegant and glamorous — but “cozy” it really is not, save for a few places like Montmartre.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life during my semester abroad in the Paris, France. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Top: Amazon

Jacket: Thrifted (Free’p’star Paris)

Skirt: Forever21

February 1, 2020 – Never Bored in Bordeaux (OOTD #605)

I took my first short day trip outside of Paris the weekend after classes began.

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wait, this isn’t a bourbon distillery

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Normally, I wouldn’t opt to do a ton of traveling right after I’d arrived in a new city (remember — I’d arrived in Paris just two weeks prior), but my Welcome Programme friends wanted to travel, and I wanted to make sure I kept up my ties with them. The first few weeks in a new location/school are a critical period — I don’t normally adhere to a FOMO (fear of missing out) mindset,  but when I’m trying to make and keep new friends, I find it’s often best to take people up on as many invitations as possible.

Sometimes though, that can be exhausting. In the case of this Bordeaux trip, it meant getting on a night bus at 10pm on a Friday night after I’d just finished the first week of classes so that I could arrive at 6am Saturday morning in Bordeaux. This was my first experience traveling via night bus — and not my last. Keep that in mind for later.

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place de quoi?

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The morning in Bordeaux was spent walking around the actual city center with a free walking tour (interestingly, I believe it was with the same walking tours group as I took a tour with in Jerusalem? Small world). My friends and I got lunch at an Italian pizza place in the afternoon, and then we hopped on a bus for a winery tour — the actual main attraction of Bordeaux.

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sip, sip, hooray

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I’ve gone on many bourbon distillery tours in my life, but I believe this was only second time (the first one being in Frascati, just outside of Rome) at a winery. I’ll be honest — I’m not super interested in the actual process of manufacturing or bottling wine. I’m mostly just there for the free tasting at the end and the pretty locations for photos. That I will say winery tours seem to be better at than distillery tours — the pretty locations for photo-taking. French châteaux in the countryside are admittedly a little more romantic than what Kentucky has to offer.

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never bored in bordeaux

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In the evening, we left Bordeaux via the fast train, so at least we didn’t have another 12 hour bus ride to top off an already exhausting day. I made it back to my apartment in Paris before the last Metro on Ligne 4 left for Porte d’Orléans at 10pm.

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in my element 🌱

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I didn’t get a ton of work done that day, but since it was the very beginning of the year, there wasn’t much to do anyway. As they say, “less study, more abroad.”

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 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: Free’p’star Paris (thrifted)

Sweater: H&M

Blouse: H&M

Skirt: Pitaya

February 25, 2019 – Classic Meilin (OOTD #461)

Time is passing, and I think my signature outfit is beginning to change.

A year or two ago, I would have told you that my go-to outfit is a jacket, a sweater, leggings/skinny jeans, and my black ankle boots. That was basically what I lived in in high school — in fact, I even have a tag on this blog called “the formula” where I sorted all of the examples of outfits that fit this pattern. I wasn’t always very good at keeping up with all of my outfits that actually fit the formula and tagging them, but you can get an idea of what they looked like.

But I’m getting older and styles are changing. I think the formula is changing too — we’ll call it the formula 2.0, I guess. More and more often, I’m finding that my go-to outfit is a skirt and a blouse — maybe with a jacket thrown on top for good measure. You can see a prime example of this kind of outfit here.

It’s just so easy to pair a skirt and a blouse — and with the weather warming up (ever so slightly), it makes it an even more appealing option. Plus, wearing a skirt looks dressier than my old leggings/skinny jeans vibe — and I like looking dressy.

I think I’m going to keep an eye out for more skirts soon. I haven’t really been huge into skirts since middle school, so I don’t really have that many (at least, in compared to my other categories of clothing).

Back in my Justice/Abercrombie Kids phases, I was huge into skirts. I think it goes way back to third grade, when we had a pioneer school history unit where we had to come to school dressed like it was the 19th century for a month. Okay, we didn’t have to do it for a whole month — only the first and last days of the unit — but I chose to do it for the whole month because I loved wearing dresses and skirts and pretending I lived in Little House on the Prairie times.

Hm, history and fashion — I wonder when those two things would pop up again in my life?

Anyway, for a few years after my Apple Valley School days, I continued wearing skirts a lot — first, in the form of sequin-covered tutus from Justice, and then, in the form of floral skirts with those elastic waistbands (remember when those were huge?) from Abercrombie and Hollister. Then, I kind-of got bored of them. Wearing skirts from ages 8-12 will exhaust you. By the time high school hit, I was ready to embrace Victoria’s Secret yoga leggings along with the rest of young women from 2014.

But I think I’m ready to go back to wearing skirts more often again. It’s been a long time.

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: Zara

Skirt: Zara

 

February 21, 2019 — Solid Ground (OOTD #460)

The snow is finally beginning to melt, which is actually a really big deal here.

The snow literally lasts months. It comes in December, which is great because it’s new and white and Christmas-y, but then it sticks around until April, which is not okay.

That’s not to say it snows every day from December to April. We’ll get a few inches every day for several days in a row, until it’s piled up and you can’t walk anywhere except where it’s been plowed. Then, it stays.

For weeks and weeks.

Since it doesn’t get warm enough (and the sun doesn’t come out from behind the clouds for weeks at a time) the snow never melts. It melts slightly, then it freezes, then it melts, then it freezes again, then new snow comes on top of it, then it melts, and the cycle repeats. The worst part is that because of how long the snow lasts, it normally gets brown and dirty. Then the dirt freezes too, and you learn to resent the snow.

Thankfully, though, I think it’s about to all be over. The snow has melted, revealing the brown, nearly-dead grass underneath. I’m sure we’ll get flurries for the next few weeks still (at least until mid-April), but my hope is that the real snow is done now.

I even got to wear a skirt with only sheer (sheer!) tights underneath for this outfit, if that gives you an indication of how warm it’s getting. By warm, of course, I mean thirty degrees instead of three — but after it’s been three degrees for three months straight, below freezing at thirty is a welcome temperature.

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: The LOFT (thrifted)

Skirt: Forever21 (thrifted)

February 20, 2019 – Complementary Colors (OOTD #459)

I can’t remember if I’ve said this before, but blue and orange is my favorite complementary color combination.

I mean, it’s not that hard of a decision to make, if you ask me — red and green look too much like Christmas, and purple and yellow look too much like a jester. That leaves you with blue and orange — the color of a sunset. What’s there not to like?

I’ve taken to wearing this turquoise jacket a lot recently (though I think this may be its appearance on my blog). It’s bright, spring-like, and looks professional without being boring.

After spending a decent portion of my high school years wearing only neutrals (thanks emo phase), I’ve been trying to incorporate more color into my wardrobe, especially as spring comes. I don’t think you’ll ever catch me making a full preppy Lilly Pulitzer transition (though I have gone for that look many times before — including in my very first blog post here!), but I would like to be a little more adventurous with my color palette.

Spring still hasn’t come in South Bend yet, despite the fact that it’s come to other parts of the United States. I’m just a little bit bitter. I just want the flowers to come out so that I can take cute pictures with them and stop haunting the hallways of the math building. I would also like the giant pile of brown snow that’s leftover from January in the parking lot at work to finally melt. Is that too much to ask?

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!


Jacket: Banana Republic

Top: Forever21

Trousers: Banana Republic

February 19, 2019 – Take Me to Church (OOTD #458)

Is it a sin to take fashion blog pictures in a chapel?

I’m going to give myself a pass this time because these photos were taken in a space in the engineering building that was not, at the time, actively being used for worship. It was just me, chilling alone in the chapel, and so I wasn’t getting in the way or distracting from  anyone’s prayer.

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take me to church

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That’s actually one of the reasons why I’ve never taken pictures inside the basilica, even though the basilica is ostensibly one of the most beautiful locations on campus. I don’t want to bother the people who are actually using it for worship, you know?  It seems disrespectful. Maybe if I can go during sometime when I know it’ll be empty…

Churches in general also tend to have pretty low lighting, with all of the stained glass and stuff. I had to edit these pictures quite a bit so that they didn’t look washed out and orange.

You’d think a place of worship should have some better natural lighting, no? I’m pretty sure God himself was a big fan of light — I heard it was the first thing he made on the first day. Pretty sure he even said it was “good.”

Anyway, all I’m saying is that whoever designs chapels and churches should really get on the lighting issue. So that I can not take pictures in chapels and churches except for when they’re empty, because otherwise that would be rude.

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!


Sweater: Aeropostale

Trousers: Thrifted (Salvation Army)

February 18, 2019 – Twinning (OOTD #457)

I got so desperate for outfit ideas, I dressed up like my dorm building.

Okay, that’s a bit of a lie — I didn’t dress up like my dorm building on purpose. I didn’t even realize I that I had until I stood in front of it in order to take pictures. The friend who took these pictures said something along the lines of “oh wow, you blend right in” and that’s when I realized — I look like a brick building.

As they say, inspiration can come from anywhere — and I guess sometimes your dorm is it. If we ever have a dorm spirit day or something, you can bet this is what I’m wearing.

Apart from the fact that I literally look like a building here, I do actually really like the outfit. I’ve taken to wearing berets ever since my roommate, Anna, lent me hers for my friend group’s Christmas photoshoot. I know I’m a little late to the trend, but I legitimately feel like a good beret can class up almost any outfit. It makes me feel intellectual and artsy.

No pretentious college student look is complete if you don’t match with your dorm building and top it all off with a black beret, 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 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

Dress: Unknown

Hat: Amazon (NYFASHION101 French Style Lightweight Casual Classic Solid Color Wool Beret)

 

February 16, 2019 – Galentine’s Day (OOTD #456)

I’m glad Galentine’s Day has become a thing.

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come to me, children

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In case you’re unaware, Galentine’s Day is the trend where instead of (or in addition to!) a traditional date with a significant other, you go out with your friends. The cynic in me sees is as just another way for restaurants to get us to spend money on Valentine’s Day. The optimist in me appreciates that Valentine’s Day is now becoming more inclusive for people who aren’t in relationships.

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🍳 🥞 ☕️

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So the weekend after Valentine’s Day, my friends and I all piled into a car and headed out to a brunch place. Going out to eat when you’re a poor college student is always such an event, at least for those us who live in the middle of nowhere and don’t have a car. I imagine it’s rather different if you go to school in a city, where there are restaurants everywhere. When you go to school in South Bend, Indiana and there are restaurants nowhere, it’s a different thing.

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wax on, wax off

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I feel like I should mention that our Galentine’s Day actually included two guys as well — Dylan and Jackson, the boyfriends of two of my friends. Galentine’s Day should be for everyone, not just women. It’s like Friendsgiving, but the Valentine’s Day version.

Turns out, the brunch place we went to had some spectacular lighting, which made for some great photos, as you can see here.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuWimnvAs6B/

And nothing says “Valentine’s Day” quite like an outfit that makes you look like a priest (bishop? cardinal? Sorry, I don’t know my Catholic hierarchy well) from the Spanish Inquisition!

I got this cape from a vintage shop near my home called Street Scene, and to be honest, I’m not convinced it wasn’t actually once owned by a member of the clergy. It looks eerily similar to some of the capes that bishops wear.

I’m not sure if there are rules about wearing old clergy clothes. Are they like American flags, which are supposed to be burned after they’re decommissioned? Do I need to wash it in holy water along with my Tide Pods? Leave me a comment below if you have advice.

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!


Cape: Vintage (thrifted — Street Scene Vintage)

Top: ASOS

 

February 14, 2019 – Valentine Times (OOTD #455)

This is my twentieth Valentine’s Day as a human being on this planet, and allow me to say: it’s a rather overrated holiday.

For adults, at least. As a kid, Valentine’s Day is great: you get to decorate your shoebox for all of your friends to place their cards into, you get candy, and if you’re lucky, maybe your dad takes you out to eat somewhere or your mom makes heart-shaped cookies. As classroom parties go, Valentine’s Day is up there with Christmas and Halloween.

But as an adult, what do you even do? Go out to dinner? You can do that any day of the year — and in fact, it’s almost worse going out on Valentine’s Day due to how busy it is. Regardless of if you have a significant other or not, I feel like Valentine’s Day as an adult is just an excuse to spend more money — not that all holidays aren’t like that in some shape or form, but I think Valentine’s Day is worse.

People generally want to buy Christmas decorations or Easter Bunny chocolates. Does anyone really want to buy candy hearts or overpriced Hallmark cards?

What’s the most strange to me is that adults do not exchange Valentines on Valentine’s Day — something I think they should do. It’s cute, and fun, and cheap. You don’t even have to buy them if you don’t want to; they’re easy to make and probably even nicer when they’re homemade. If exchanging Valentines became a custom for adults like it is for children, I think people would enjoy Valentines Day a lot more.

I don’t hate Valentine’s Day, though, I’d like to make that clear. I don’t like the “I hate Valentine’s Day” mentality, especially when it comes from bitter single people. I’m a single person too. But I like to support my friends who are in healthy and committed relationships and those who aren’t but are currently looking for one. It’s cute and harmless.

Since I generally don’t do anything on Valentine’s Day, one of the things I do like to do is get dressed up. I mean, I get dressed up a lot — but I like to use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to get dressed up a little extra.

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thanks for the stuff @trueandco

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Today’s outfit features a lace bodysuit from True&Co. They were kind enough to send me one complimentary to style for my blog, and I’m really surprised with how much I like it!  At first, I wasn’t really sure how I could make a collaboration with a lingerie company work, as LEDJ is more about outerwear than underwear, but I think this makes for a really fun, layered outfit.

They also sent me a bra and panties — which I will not be styling for this blog, unfortunately — but I did still very much like them.

To top it all off, I found some roses in the trashcan of my dorm (I’m sure there’s a really fascinating story there) that I decided to take back with me and set up in a vase in my room. I’ve never gotten flowers for Valentine’s Day before, so it was a pretty exciting find — even if they weren’t met for me. Trashcan roses are still roses.

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!


Jacket: Forever21

Shirt: Banana Republic

Lace Bodysuit: True&Co. Lingerie Stripe and Lace Bodysuit

Jeans: American Eagle