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)

May 15, 2019 – Dilly Dilly Philly Philly (OOTD #501)

Controversial opinion, perhaps, but I love a long layover.

Many might bemoan a long wait time sitting in an airport until your next flight, but I’ve actually come to thrive on them. If it’s over 10 hours, I’ve found, I can leave the airport — especially in a city with good public transport — come back, and it’s like I had a little day-long trip before my main trip. A detour, if you will.

On my way to Rome, I had a nearly 12-hour layover in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, my second-favorite city in the US after New York. I left Lexington at 7:30 in the morning, arrived around 9, and I didn’t have to get my flight to Rome until 7 in the evening. I wasn’t about to wait around in the airport all day, so I grabbed my backpack, hunted down ground transport, and took the train downtown.

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what’s up, billy penn

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As it turns out, I also happen to have an uncle who lives in Philly (and another uncle, and some cousins, and basically my entire father’s side of the family), and so my Uncle Tim agreed to meet up with me for lunch.

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how enlightening

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Uncle Tim has actually popped up on this blog before — namely, on a day-trip to Bardstown, KY when he came to visit my family back home. He also gets a mention sometimes when I post pictures wearing work shirts with other people’s names on them, because he’s the one who gave me those shirts. He drives a hearse, has tattoos, and wears earrings. He’s a quirky dude, and he’s the best.

So Uncle Tim and I headed to the Reading Terminal Market for lunch, where I ordered a Philly Cheesesteak (the only place to buy one) and grabbed a Wawa smoothie to drink. From there, we headed to South Street, where we walked around the vintage and antique shops.

Like my father (his brother) and me, Uncle Tim could spend an eternity in antique shops. We both had a lot of fun wandering in and out of the various oddball stores on South Street. I was proud of myself — I didn’t buy anything, even though there were definitely a few pieces of vintage clothing that caught my eye. I just didn’t have enough storage space in my bags to take them with me all the way to Rome. I’m trying to whittle down my wardrobe, bit by bit.

All in all, it was a good layover, but it was only that — a layover. I wished I could stay longer and meet up with the rest of the family, but I had another plane to catch, so after an afternoon in the city, Uncle Tim brought me back the airport and we said our goodbyes.

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bye, usa

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Next stop: Rome, Italy!

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 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!


Jacket: H&M

Top: The LOFT

Leggings: The LOFT

August 13, 2018 – Indie GoGo (OOTD #345)

Cities! They’re my weakness.

I suppose it has something to do with the way I’ve never truly lived in a big city — Louisville and Lexington are small to medium-sized cities in their own right, and they have their unique charms, but no one would really describe them as big cities. And that’s okay. But for me, a big city — your New Yorks, your Londons — that’s where it’s at.

So whenever I have an opportunity to visit a new city, get a sense for its character and personality, I take it. The major cities are my favorite, but the secondary cities are cool too. Indianapolis was no different.

This was my first time visiting Indy that I remember properly. I’m certain I’ve driven through it many times, especially on my way up to Notre Dame in  northern Indiana, and I believe I visited the Indy 500 museum once when I was a kid, but I’ve never been there long enough to actually get a feel for it.

And granted, I guess I still haven’t been there long enough to actually get a feel for it —  I was only there for a day trip. I couldn’t tell you what the people of Indianapolis are like, what the city is proud of, or what makes it ugly. I got to see some restaurants and neighborhoods and shops though, and that’s something.

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it was a fairly good time

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The highlight of the day was easily the Cake Bake Shop in the Broad Ripple neighborhood. My lemonade and my cookie were overpriced (nope, didn’t order cake — it was like, $15), but I suppose it was worth it for the experience inside the restaurant. It’s sort of like Disney World — the rides aren’t worth the cost of admission, but maybe the atmosphere and cute decorations are.

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we faired well

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The lowlight of the day was the Indiana State Fair, because it absolutely stole my money. It was $13 for admission, and once we got in, we realized there was nothing to do without spending more money. In an attempt to justify the $13 we paid to get in, we spent another $5 to ride the ferris wheel for two minutes. Our attempts failed.

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i’ll have my cake and eat it too

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If something good came out of it, though, I got some cute carnival photos. At least Instagram will think I had more fun than I did. Between you and me, though, you can see the regret of $18 wasted in my eyes.

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

Top: Thrifted

Jacket: Thrifted

Shorts: Hollister

August 5, 2018 – That Was Rewarding (OOTD #342)

After a long hard day of cleaning the house, my family decided to go out and reward ourselves with a bit of ice cream!

You know, I’m admittedly not even a huge ice cream person, but I just love the concept of it. I think it has something to do with this Arthur book I had as a kid where Arthur goes out and treats DW to ice cream after she proves to him how good she is at spelling. Isn’t it funny how dumb little things like that can permanently change your worldviews?

For example, I don’t really enjoy ice cream in cones. I find them messy, unnecessary, and just generally add on calories that I don’t need when I could enjoy the ice cream just as much out of a bowl. But I’m a sucker for the aesthetic of ice cream in a cone — an aesthetic that I first came to know thanks to that Arthur book.

I’m also a sucker for the cute photos I can get with ice cream in a cone that I just can’t get with ice cream in a bowl. I’m one hundred percent one of those people who will research the most Instagrammable restaurants in a city I’m visiting just so I can get something cute for my feed. Call me shallow.

If you’re wondering, the flavor of the ice cream here is Kentucky Blackberry Buttermilk, and it’s one of my favorite flavors of all time. I don’t get tired of it; I order it every time I come to this particular local ice cream shop. Rather than being super sweet like a lot of ice creams, its flavor comes from its creaminess. 10/10 would recommend.

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

Top: boutique at a flea market

Shorts: PacSun

July 9, 2018 – A Developing Building In A Developing Country (OOTD #326)

Hey look, I’m back!

Whoops, looks like I accidentally took a three-day hiatus from this whole daily blogging thing (again). It’s like I’m flawed or something.

Anyway, let’s jump right back into the Nepal adventures — it’s day nine in Nepal, and I’m back in Dhulikhel after a day trip to Kathmandu. Dhulikhel, for as different as it is from suburban America, is beginning to grow old after having been here for a over a week. It’s in Nepal, which is exciting and exotic, but it’s still a small town in Nepal. Small towns only have so much to do.

So here’s what Dhulikhel had for me — a temple, momo’s, and an unfinished building.

First up, the temple. It was…a temple. I’m not sure what else there is to say about it — sure it’s totally different from anything I get to see in my normal life at Notre Dame or in Kentucky, but at this point, I’d seen dozens of Nepali temples. With the exception of some of the bigger ones in Kathmandu, the smaller ones like this were beginning to run together.

The South Asian students with me were also not terribly excited by the temples either, on account of them being pretty used to seeing them all the time around there own home towns. I got a few photos, and then we moved on.

After walking aimlessly as we so often do during these afternoon walks in Nepal, we ended up coming across a restaurant in a field.

Does that sound weird? A restaurant in a field? Well, that’s what it was. It was off the road a little bit, and just sitting there by itself in a field, no other buildings around.

With such a strange location for a restaurant, we of course had to go up and order something. My friend, Haya, was craving french fries, and I was interested in trying momo’s, a Nepali dish similar to Chinese dumplings (spoiler alert: Chinese dumplings are way better).

While sitting at the table waiting on our food, my friend, Elsa, spotted an unfinished building sitting nearby the field that looked abandoned. With nothing else to do, we decided to explore.

There wasn’t really much to explore, in truth. The building appeared to have been begun, but never finished, so there was little to see except the foundation and framework of what it was to be. We got a nice view of the sunset from the second floor — but I’m pretty sure I’ve wound up with a pretty view of the sunset almost every day I’ve been in Nepal from the various locations I’ve ventured to. Pretty views are pretty much just the normal, everyday views here.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my trip to Nepal. 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

Pants: H&M

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Merry Christmas Eve Eve

Happy almost-Christmas!

It’s two days until Christmas, and things are finally beginning to look like it at my household. I’ve baked some cookies, a cake, we put up our tree, my dad and I put up our outdoor lights – we’ve got just about all of the traditional Christmas stuff done.

I’ve still got quite a bit of wrapping to do, and even a few more gifts to buy, but I’m not too concerned. The gifts I need to buy aren’t due until after Christmas, and the wrapping can be done later tonight while I watch some Christmas specials on television.

It’s weird not being in school – I at once seem to have so much to do and nothing to do at all. For example, I stayed in bed until like 1PM today, like a proper lazy teenager, but after I finally got up, my dad and I managed to get some legitimate work done on the outdoor decorations. I’ll probably stay up late again tonight – I’ve got some Christmas cards to sign and address, the wrapping to do, and maybe even some blogging – and then wake up late tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to make it through the most recent Harry Potter book – The Cursed Child. I don’t know, does it even count as a book? Is it even officially canon? I actually bought it like, a year ago, but I only made it about halfway through the first act before I gave up on how contrived and corny the plot seemed.

I’m coming across much of the same issue now, trying to read it again – the plot does seem a little silly, and the characters are, for lack of a better term, out-of-character. Maybe it would’ve been better had I seen the actual stage play.

Have any of you read Cursed Child yet? What do you think? Feel free to leave me a comment below.

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

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Cold, Rainy Game Day

Maybe this weather is a metaphor for Notre Dame’s playoff chances.

See, we started off the year with gorgeous weather and sunshine. It was late summer in northern Indiana, meaning that being outside and standing for hours in the stadium actually wasn’t bad. Then, as fall came around, the weather cooled, but in a really genuinely nice way.

And now it’s nearly winter – our last several games have been either freezing, raining, or some combination of both, and it’s getting harder and harder to will myself to stay for the entirety of the game. Not to mention, morale is low, and our playoff aspirations are as good as dead.

It should still be fun anyway. And if it’s not, I don’t really feel any obligation to stick around past halftime, especially since I can use the excuse of having a headache from falling the other day.

I guess I never posted about that here! Yeah, so the other day,  I fainted while washing my hands in my dorm’s bathroom, and I hit my head pretty hard against the wall on the way down. I woke up on the ground feeling pretty lousy, but I managed to get back up and walk back to my room. After laying down for a little, I felt much better and was even able to go to class about a half an hour later.

I never went to the clinic to get myself checked out, though I probably ought to have, but I haven’t felt that way since and the only lasting issue I’ve had is a headache from hitting my head.

Anyway, I’ve got to get dressed in some sort of Notre Dame-themed outfit and get ready for the game, which starts in a little over an hour. Maybe this time, I’ll actually be able to make a blog post out of my outfit, instead of losing the photo files like I did last time. Go Irish!

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!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Not Cold

Hey, hey, guess what?

I’m cold.

I know, I know, I’ve never said that before in a blog. I have never, in the history of this site, written a blog based upon me being cold. For that matter, I’ve never even done a blog about being too hot. I am immune to the elements; they do not bother me, and I have no reason to complain about them.

Besides, who could complain when they have coffee? And not only coffee, but coffee in a Christmas cup!?!

I’m still trying to decide upon my go-to cold weather Starbucks drink. I’m happy to do a cold brew, even in the winter, but not all the time, you know?

Anyway, I’ve been experimenting around, and I think I might have landed on an option: a café Americano with steamed almond milk on top. It’s got just the right touch of decadence with the steamed milk, while still being bitter enough to make me feel warm inside.

Unfortunately, my coffee is gone now, and all I’m left with is the yellow stain on my teeth.

I’m also very cold, so things could be better. Notre Dame is presently winning though – is the win worth me standing out in the rain for four hours? I don’t know. But I’m here now, and I got some good touchdown pushup photos out of it, so I guess it’s not so awful.

Anyway, that’s it for today! See you in the next blog! Maybe by then I’ll have warmed up.

Saturday Musings + Coffee – On the Road Again

I like, actually don’t know a single lyric to that entire song except for what I wrote in the title – “on the road again.”

It something a tired and delirious Amanda would sing in the Atlanta airport any time we had to run from one terminal to another in an attempt to make it onto a plane from the standby list. I was too tired and delirious myself to question it – I’m not even sure it was a real song, now that I think of it, maybe she was just expressing her frustrations through song.

Welp, I’m frustrated and on the road again, so it struck me as a sensible blog title. Frustrated? I don’t know if that’s quite the right word…it’s more like, mildly annoyed. See, I’ve got another Greyhound bus to take today, and I was not so much a fan of the last one I had to take, and this time, I don’t even have home to look forward to at the end of the road.

Granted, I do have the Notre Dame game against the University of Southern California to look forward to, and that’ll be neat, but it’s much more exciting for me to get to sleep in my own bed than to get to stand for three hours in a football stadium with a bunch of *not at all intoxicated* college kids.

So you’ll have to pardon my particularly unglamorous coffee lifestyle photos today – it was a particularly unglamorous morning.

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

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Home Again, Home Again

Jiffity jig.

I’m back, Lexington, KY! Did you miss me?

No? You didn’t even feel my absence? What’s one less person in a population of over 300,000? Oh…okay. That’s cool too. Well, you know what I missed though? Panera. There isn’t one on campus – there isn’t even one within delivery distance, I don’t think. We have an Au Bon Pain, but it’s not nearly as good. You have to serve yourself out of these giant pots of soup and scoop it into cardboard cups, rather than getting prepared for you in those chic little white bowls Panera has. Much less chic.

Another thing that Panera has that Au Bon Pain doesn’t is Lexington people who went to my high school. That’s significantly less cool. I saw two girls I went to high school with while I was there this afternoon, and I did my best to hide. We didn’t make eye contact, thank goodness, so we weren’t obliged to speak, but I’m fairly certain that if I saw them, they saw me too. Which means we all purposefully avoided each other.

Lol, that’s high school for you.

Anyway, I’m about to head out to get dinner with some friends, so this is going to be super short. Fashion posts to resume tomorrow!

That’s all, folks! 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!