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.

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.

img_1398

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 2, 2019 – Go Nats? (OOTD #574)

I’ve never been a baseball person.

Okay, I’ve never really been a sports person at all. Over the years, I’ve developed an appreciation for college and professional football and college basketball, owing to the places I’ve lived and the need to be able to talk about Notre Dame football at Notre Dame and UK Basketball in Lexington.

But I’ve never understood baseball. I’ve been to a game or two, including a professional Mets game in New York City. I’ve watched it on TV. And I just don’t get the appeal.

It’s such a slow game! Whether you’re at home or in the stands, there just isn’t much to see. People only manage to hit the ball and then actually go for a run a small percentage of the time. I can appreciate that there can be enjoyment in a sport even if people aren’t running all over the field all of the time, but…baseball seems to be mostly a game of people standing around.

Apparently, most of the people of Washington DC agree with me. Their team, the Nationals,  won the World Series, but you wouldn’t have known that in the months and even weeks leading up to their win.

Here’s how much Washington DC was not cheering on their baseball team in their games before the World Series: around late October, I began noticing a few people walking around the city with cursive W’s on their red baseball caps. The first person I saw, I thought okay, it’s just a man going to work at Walgreens wearing his Walgreens uniform. The second person I saw, I thought okay, I guess that woman works at Walgreens too. 

It literally took until right before the first game of the World Series for me to realize that the cursive W hats were actually meant to be for the Washington Nationals. How was I supposed to know? There were no signs congratulating the team for making it so far. There were no shops selling Nats merchandise. None of the televisions in office lobbies or drugstores were playing Nats games.

Up until the World Series, the only cursive W logo I knew was Walgreens. Honestly, I think Washington people like Walgreens more than they like the Nats — you can find a Walgreens at every street corner, but you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who’s a serious fan of the Nats.

After they won the World Series, a bunch of people came out in red and white for a parade downtown to celebrate the team, but I seriously question how genuine the majority of the crowd was in their fandom. I’m pretty sure most of the people there at the parade were like me: just there to get dressed up and take advantage of a 60 degree day in autumn. We were all fake fans that day.

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

Blouse: H&M

Skirt: Forever21

October 29, 2019 – Thrown Together (OOTD #572)

Living a fifteen minute walk away from where I work is not a good move for me.

And it’s not necessarily for the reasons you might think. It’s not necessarily because I’m too tempted to stay late at work or come early. It’s not because I want to go to the office on the weekend.

Apparently, it’s because I struggle not to wake up ten minutes before I’m supposed to be at my desk, realize that I’m running late, and then have to throw together an outfit (like this one) and get ready in five minutes so that I’m not more than ten minutes late. The amount of times I got to work at 9:10 instead of 9:00 was rather unfortunate.

See, I think if I lived farther away — you know, like a metro stop or two away — I’d be better at not being late. I say that, and then I think about how often I was 5-10 minutes late to my internship in Rome, when I had to ride the metro for an hour every morning, and then I realize that that’s not at all true.

I’m bad at being on time, I admit it. I’ve been bad at being on time for 20 years, and I’ve not really done much to improve my timelines over the years because I’m not usually more than 5-10 minutes late — that is, in real life.

In my blog posts, I’m a lot later. This outfit was worn in October 2019 and here I am publishing it in January 2020. Oops.

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: Forever21

Trousers: Donated by a friend

October 21, 2019 – Cultured (OOTD #568)

Do you remember that trend back in like, 2011 where people would wear fake nerd glasses in an attempt to look “nerdy” and “smart?”

Yeah, I definitely did that.

For a long time, before I actually needed glasses, I wanted them. I thought they looked so intelligent. My friend, Emma, once gave me an old pair of her glasses in a little pink plastic Barbie case with a pink plastic handle, and I’d take them out when I was alone in my room and just stare at myself in the mirror. I could barely see out of them, since they weren’t, you know, my prescription, but I was pretty sure I looked great.

Flash forward 15 years, and nothing has changed. I still get dressed without seriously considering whether or not what I’m wearing actually looks good, but I feel pretty confident that it does anyway. Except, now I do need glasses.

Naturally, though, I’m not wearing them in this set of photos, which makes this transition rather awkward. Oh well. Where would we be without awkward transitions in this blog?

The point of me bringing up the story about fake glasses is because I thought this outfit/background combination was reminiscent of my fake glasses days. I may not be wearing fake glasses here, but I am in spirit. I’m also wearing a fake handlebar mustache in spirit, perfect for twirling like a silent movie villain.

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 17, 2019 – The Hill Has Eyes (OOTD #567)

After a month in DC, I began picking up on DC lingo.

It’s the little things that make you seem like a local: for example, saying “to metro” as if it’s a verb. You don’t “take the metro” (or worse, “take the subway”) to get somewhere, you just “metro.” Oh, I’m going to metro to the game. I’ll metro and meet you there.

And another thing that DC people like to say — “the Hill.” It’s not Capitol Hill. It’s not the Capitol, or the Capitol Building. It’s just the Hill.

People work “on the Hill.” People who don’t work on the Hill go to meetings “on the Hill.” No matter what you do, you, or at the very least someone in your office, probably winds up “on the Hill” once or twice a month.

The same could be said of me while I was in DC. I went there for class, I went there for work, I went there with my friends on the weekend. I kept winding up there without really making any particular effort to go there; in a list of my top 10 favorite places in DC, the Hill area probably would not place, and it’s not like my apartment or place of work was really anywhere in that part of town.

But without fail, I would find myself near the Hill every couple of weeks, whether it was for lunch with my boss or to go to the Conservatory with my friends. And it wouldn’t be a DC semester without picture or two of me with that iconic dome (no, not that iconic dome. Or that one). I mean, if your LinkedIn headshot isn’t a picture of you on the Hill, did you even intern in Washington DC for three months?

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

Shirt: Banana Republic

Trousers: Banana Republic Sloan

Scarf: The MOMA gift shop

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. At Notre Dame, the first snowfall is in October. That doesn’t mean it’s a significant snowfall — it might only be a flurry or two, but it’s snowfall nonetheless. October means 30 degree mornings and cloudy 40 degree afternoons. By November, you get your first significant snowfall, if you didn’t already get it in October. By December, the permacloud has rolled in and there’re at least three giant piles of grey-black snow that never fully melt until May of the next year.

Apparently, that’s not normal weather.

Being in DC reminded me of that. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I was shocked by how warm it still was in October in DC. Every morning I would walk to work and the first thing I’d say to my coworkers would be “can you believe how hot it is?” And they would say “…uh, you’ve said that like twice in the last hour. Also, this is normal weather for this time of year, you idiot.”

If I had the ability to formate my own perfect seasons, I’d definitely want to replicate a Notre Dame fall. It’s much colder in Northern Indiana in the fall than most other parts of the country, but in the fall, that’s perfect. By fall, you’re sick of the heat (or at least, if you’re me you are) and there’s nothing better than that first 30 degree October morning after a long, hot summer.

DC, on the other hand, stays much warmer for longer. I don’t think it really started cooling off until late October, compared to late September for Notre Dame. It made me miss Notre Dame weather — something I never thought I’d have to admit.

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)

Skirt: Forever21 (actually, it’s a dress layered underneath the sweater)

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

September 20, 2019 – Pro Tip (OOTD #565)

Pro tip: fashion for the professional workplace is hard.I don’t know if that’s really a tip so much as it is an observation. I struggle to come up with work-appropriate silhouettes that aren’t receptive and boring every single day. It’s so hard. What am I supposed to do if I’m not allowed to wear ripped boyfriend jeans and mini-skirts every other day?

I think professional clothing is a little unfair to women — “workplace” fashion tends to de-emphasize sexuality. You’re supposed to look plain and unassuming: dark colors, conservative silhouettes, plain cuts. You’re supposed to “not be a distraction to men” or whatever (as if men can’t learn to just…not be distracted). You wear slacks and cardigans and turtlenecks, which, while they can be made to look attractive, are not necessarily the most flattering,

Men, on the other hand, get to wear suits, which are perceived as the most flattering attire for their gender. Think about it — men wear suits for every fancy occasion. They wear them for prom, for weddings, for funerals, and, of course, for work. You see a man at work in a suit and you think, “oh, that man is dressed up.” You see a women at work in a cardigan and you think, “well, she looks appropriate.”

It goes both ways, though. Women are culturally allowed a greater diversity of styles than men are — we can wear dresses and skirts and crop tops and heels and a whole number of types of clothing that men can’t wear without looking “effeminate.” Sure, men wear suits to work, which, due to their associations with formal occasions, tend to make them look dressier, but then they also don’t get to wear wedding gowns and club wear and prom dresses.

Or rather, society says they can’t. I think they can if they want. As they say, “we’re all born naked and the rest is drag.”

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: thrifted, Ecseri Bazaar in Budapest

Skirt: River Island