March 10, 2019 – Grocery Store Florist (OOTD #469)

A long, long time ago, I applied for a job at this grocery store florist. They didn’t hire me.

It amazes me sometimes how sixteen year-old kids go out and find jobs sometimes, and that’s coming from someone who was once a sixteen year-old kid who found a job.

My first job was actually at the same grocery store chain as this florist, though I worked at a different location. I was a bagger/cart-getter/bathroom-cleaner. It wasn’t a fun job.

I won’t mention the name of the grocery store chain in case one day I want to try to get a job in their corporate department (or alternatively, after I drop out of school and all that’s left for me is to go back and try to get a job as a bagger), so let’s call it something totally made-up — like Shmoger. 

I applied for a lot of jobs the summer I was 16 — none of which I got interviews for except this one at Shmoger. That’s the worst part about applying for jobs — the fact that no one seems to want to message you to let you know the status of your application. At least with university applications, you can get rejected from every school you apply to, but they properly reject you. They give you a date they’ll have their decision by, and then they tell you their decision on that date. With jobs, they just ghost you, like a bad Tinder match.

The Shmoger I worked at was going through some renovations when I began working there, and I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason they hired me. I had no real experience (not even babysitting) and no references besides my parents, so they must have been desperate.

The funny thing is, I didn’t really even want the job that badly. I just took it because I figured that’s what you’re supposed to do when you turn 16. Now that I’m at a wealthy university and have wealthy friends, I realize that that’s not the case for people with money and connections, but at the time, pretty much everyone I knew had a crappy job in retail or food or service.

Looking back, I do appreciate the perspective that my crappy barely-above-minimum wage job offered me about the world — how hard it is to get a job if you don’t have a lot of experience or connections or education, how entitled both customers and fellow employees can be, how exhausting it is to do (even slightly) labor-intensive work , how difficult it is to make any actual money working minimum wage and barely getting any hours because you’ve just stared. It helped me to recognize how privileged I am to not have to work jobs like that in order to get by, and how difficult it is to move past that situation if that’s where you’re presently stuck. I ultimately ended up quitting when my junior year began (one of the only things I’ve truly quit for the last several years) because it was too much to do on top of schoolwork. Ironically, I quit the weekend before the big reopening after the renovations were all finished — something for which my boss yelled at me when I sent in my resignation via text.

I can’t imagine trying to work a spiritually and financially thankless job like that while trying to get the education required to get a better job. Getting an education can be spiritually and financially thankless enough on its own sometimes.

I think my second-most important realization at my Shmoger job was how horrible people are who leave their grocery carts out in the middle of the parking lot, especially at night. Please bring them to the corral — or better yet, back up to the front of the store! Some poor kid on cart-duty will thank you.

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: Forever21

Jacket: Thrifted (Clothes Mentor)

Skirt: Hollister

Shoes: Target

March 3, 2019 – Il Fait Froid (OOTD #464)

I’m not going to sit here and complain about the cold — I know it’s annoying — but I will say once that it was snowing while I was taking these photos, and I was not happy about it.

For as cold and windy as winter can be in South Bend, the one good thing is that it makes the spring all the more pleasant. When the snow finally melts and the temperature peaks above 32 degrees, it feels like heaven on Earth. They’ve planted the tulip bulbs on God Quad now; the shoots are just beginning to come up through the soil. I can’t wait.

I think what I miss most during the winter is the plant life. Everything can be so grey and dull during the winter — it’s not really that I miss the sun so much, but that I miss the color. You can kind of see it in these pictures. The grass is visible, but it’s far from vibrant.

I never thought spring fever was real until I went to the Midwest. I used to feel sad when the winter ended; it meant no more snow days and that I’d have to go to school every day until the end of the year (that was, until my senior year, when I started leaving early). Now, I have to go to class every day regardless of the weather (except for that one time this year when windchill hit -45 degrees), so there’s no reason to hope for the winter to drag on. Spring means spring break, Easter, and plants. That’s all I want anymore.

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: Thrifted

Sweater: Forever21

Jeans: Hot Topic

 

March 1, 2019 – Getcha Head in the Game (OOTD #462)

Up next in Meilin Uses Sports for an Aesthetic Rather Than their Actual Purpose: basketball!

I had a basketball phase very briefly as a kid. I never played it on an actual team, and so I never learned the actual rules (beyond, you know, get the ball in the hoop) but i would play it a lot on the playground with my friends. I think it was just because of the games you could play with the balls that my school had — basically, basketball or soccer (and maybe football?) — basketball was easier for seven year-old-me with literally zero athletic ability to pick up.

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he did what ???

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I could dribble a ball, I could throw it in the general direction of other people. What else is there to basketball?

Apparently, as I found out later in life, there’s a lot more to basketball. The few times I’ve actually had to play basketball according to the proper rules during gym class, I’ve been terrible at it. I didn’t like the people getting in my personal space and waving their smelly arms, and I didn’t like how physically aggressive you had to be in order to actually take the ball from someone. I like my sports without physical aggression.

Basketball is third behind maybe volleyball and kickball in the List of Sports I Have Found That I Am Bad At. This list doesn’t include sports that I’m pretty certain I would be bad at without even trying them — like lacrosse or ice hockey.

Anyway, though I lack any natural affinity for physical activity, I’ve found I like the aesthetic of sports. There’s something edgy about an empty tennis or basketball court.

Is it offensive to people who actually play these sports to reduce them to just their aesthetic for a cute picture? Am I appropriating athlete culture? If so, I apologize. I’m sorry I can’t actually play basketball and I don’t really care to learn how at this point in my life. If it makes me inauthentic to stand in a basketball court and use it for fashion photography, then I guess I’m fake.

I am also wearing a beret and I’m not French. I seem to be doing poorly at the whole authenticity thing.

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!


Blouse: Forever21

Trousers: American Eagle

Beret: A tree on North Quad (I’m not kidding — I found this hat frozen to a tree branch on campus. It looked like it needed a home, so pried it off the tree, washed it, and it’s mine now)

 

 

 

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 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

January 30, 2019 – Frostbite Fashion (OOTD #446)

January 30, 2019 was the coldest day I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.

This was a part of the Polar Vortex that swept the Midwest, and it hit us pretty hard. Maybe not as hard as it hit Chicago, which is a bit further north, but it was still pretty cold — and by that I mean -40 Fwindchill levels of cold.

It was so cold that they even cancelled classes for us that day, which Notre Dame never does. Class stops for religious holidays only — not even national holidays, so Columbus Day and Labor Day and President’s Day doesn’t count. The fact that they cancelled classes because of the weather means that this was some serious business.

And I guess it was. You probably saw everyone on social media in the Midwest doing that experiment where you throw boiling water into the air and it turns to snow. I can confirm that all of those videos were real — I tried it myself outside of my dorm, and it worked.

Because of how cold it was, I only ventured out of my dorm once that day, and that was to get food. Everything but the dining halls were closed, so there was no reason to brave the cold.

And when I did go out that one time to brave the cold, oh boy was it cold. In Kentucky, the coldest I’ve probably ever experienced is maybe -10 F windchill. This was -40 F — the kind of windchill where you can get frostbite from being outside for more than 10 minutes. I could literally feel the ice crystals forming in my nose and throat each time I breathed in. For the people who live off campus, or who live in dorms that are on the outskirts, frostbite could actually become a concern.

And hence, I stayed inside for the majority of the day. It was actually really nice. It’s so rare that I ever get off from classes. I don’t expect that it will ever happen again while I’m at Notre Dame. This was likely my first and last snow

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: Forever21

Jeans: Hollister

Boots: Doc Marten

January 29, 2019 – Reiterations (OOTD #445)

Does this outfit look familiar to you?

It does to me. It looks very familiar. It looks like something I’ve already worn before.

Here’s a fun fact — as much as I can, I try not to repeat outfits, where “outfits” are loosely defined as ensembles that I put time and effort into constructing (in other words, not lazy days where I throw on a sweater and leggings and walk out the door). That means even if I really love an outfit (for example, this guy here or this guy here) I won’t wear it again — ever.

Or at least, I won’t wear it again and then blog about it. We’ll see if I ever end up going back on that self-imposed rule, but for now, I’m doing my best to stick to it.

So this outfit isn’t a total violation of the rule, since it’s not actually a repeat of an outfit I’d worn before. It is, however, very reminiscent of another outfit. I added a pair of tights, a scarf, and different shoes, but it’s fundamentally still very similar — my carpetbag skirt  and a form-fitting, tan-ish sweater.

I’m sure I’m just being overly-critical, just like I’m sure that no one out there but me actually remembered the similar outfit from October 23, 2017 that I referenced earlier. It’s okay — someone has to do the job of being overly-critical and remembering all of my outfits from the past two years. It’s a good thing I’m here to do the job.


Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: Forever21

January 24, 2019 – I Like It (OOTD #444)

I really like this outfit.

I don’t know, I just felt like mentioning that. I like most of my outfits — or else I wouldn’t…you know, wear them — but I like this one in particular. I liked it when I wore it, I like it now looking back, and I really like how all of my photos turned out.

This pair of pants was a particularly good purchase. I got them at a Salvation Army near my campus while I was moving in at the beginning of the semester, and I’ve already worn them several times. I actually almost didn’t buy them — as you can see. they’re pretty big on me, and I was concerned about finding a way to wear them that was flattering. I was also concerned about whether I could even find a way to keep them up on my hips in the first place.

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let’s play a game of name that pose

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Thankfully, we’ve got a wonderful little invention called belts, and, by putting the buckle on the smallest setting, I was essentially able to hoist these pants up on my waist. Will I ever be able to buy pants that aren’t a children’s size and have them fit perfectly without modification? The jury’s still out on that one.

This is a fun place to take pictures. It’s right outside of one of the gyms, but ever since the new student center opened last semester, no one comes here anymore. It’s also way far off on the south edge of campus, which means it’s inconvenient for anyone other than people who already live on South Quad.

That inconvenient factor is perfect for me, though, trying to take pictures somewhere outside in a way that’s inconspicuous and won’t have random people staring at me was they go by. Every time I think I’ve completely gotten over my discomfort at taking pictures of myself in public, one puzzled look from some stranger walking by reminds me that no — I’m not really over it.

I’m more over it than I was this time last year, but there’s nothing more awkward than making eye contact with some confused

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!


Long-sleeve top: Zara

Pants: Thrifted (Salvation Army)

January 22, 2019 – Primary Construction (OOTD #442)

You know that big iconic building on Notre Dame’s campus with the golden dome on top? Here’s the inside of it.

You’d think that, being such a prominent feature of Notre Dame culture, that Main Building would be somewhere the students go all the time. It’s even got a (boring) name like Main Building that implies its prominence. But nope — in actuality, I almost never venture inside here.

There are no classrooms, no restaurants, and no study spaces, and so there’s no reason to go. About all of the space in Main Building is devoted to offices, and whatever’s left is for Father Jenkins’s living quarters (probably?), storage space for the Christmas tree, and some questionable murals of Christopher Columbus. In fact, if you have to go to Main Building for a meeting, it implies that something out of the ordinary is going on.

And for me, visiting Main Building on January 22, something out of the ordinary absolutely was going on! I had just received my acceptances to study abroad programs, and I had a few questions to ask of my advisor. As it turned out, her office was in Main Building.

Long story short — this coming fall, I’ll be studying in Washington DC, and in the spring, I’ll be studying in Paris at Sciences-Po. There’s a lot more that went into that meeting with my advisor and my decision-making process, but I’ll spare you the details for now. I know it’s a subject that’s going to come up a lot in the coming months as I start getting ready to go.

Anyway, on my way out from my meeting, I decided to stop by window and get some pictures of my outfit. Going into Main Building is a momentous occasion — I had to get some photographic evidence to preserve for future generations.


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!

Turtleneck: Free People

Sweater: Forever21

Pants: American Eagle