August 27, 2018 – Neutral Staples (OOTD #358)

A few blog posts ago, I mentioned a jacket that’s one of my most frequently worn pieces in my wardrobe.

Well, now I’m back with two more frequently worn pieces — this turtleneck and this skirt. But how could they not be frequently worn? They’re both basic staples for just about anyone’s wardrobe, and they go with just about anything.

Including each other! Believe it or not, but I’ve discovered that miraculously, two neutrals — camel and black — go together. I know, it’s hard to believe, but these two non-color colors surprisingly manage to not clash. I think I’m really on to something here.

You want to know what was not on to something though? Wearing a turtleneck in the late August heat. I thought I would be okay since I was wearing a skirt and so at least my legs would be cool, but I was wrong. It was very hot.

Things should be cooling off soon, though, and then it will be fall! Once the leaves begin to turn properly, I’ll start tagging my blogs with #fall again. Because if there’s anyone who’s going to tell you when it’s fall, it’s not a meteorologist, or an astronomer, but me and my fashion blog ,of course.

I mean, am I wrong? A solid 50% of what makes it fall is the commercial aspect — the pumpkin spice lattes, the Halloween decorations, the tailgates. The cooler temperatures and changing leaves are wonderful, but they’re even more wonderful if you can experience them in a cozy sweater. I guess our capitalist overlords have got us beat there — even the changing of the seasons marks an occasion to make us spend more money.

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 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: Forever21

Skirt: Zara

August 19, 2018 – Sophomore Superiority (OOTD #351)

And so life at Notre Dame continues.

The freshman are all here, so campus is beginning to feel a bit more lively — though still not quite like home. I don’t know, there’s something about a bunch of teenagers in matching t-shirts being herded around by Welcome Weekend ambassadors that just prevents campus from really feeling normal yet. I feel like I’m at summer camp, but I’m not a camper, and I’m not a camp counselor — just someone who happens to be there at the same time.

I’ve spent my last few days here just chilling and catching up on my blog-writing, and honestly, it’s been really nice. Notre Dame’s a totally different beast when I’m not stressing out about schoolwork or football games or dorm parties. While I’m excited for football season to begin and for my friends to all get here, I’m also glad I have this time to relax.

It’s also kind-of nice to watch all the freshman running around from one Welcome Weekend activity to another, and be able to acknowledge with satisfaction how glad I am that that’s not me. If you read any of my Welcome Weekend blogs from last year, you’ll know — I wasn’t really a fan of the whole experience. They do their best to make it fun and as not-scary as possible, but it’s nonetheless an overwhelming experience.

It’s fine though, because I’ll never really have to do it again. This may sound silly, but it was with triumph that I wore this simple outfit — just a dress with a jacket — because it set me apart from all the freshmen in their matching dorm shirts suffering through Welcome Weekend. There’s uh…nothing like realizing how bad other people have it to make you feel better about yourself.

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!

Jacket: Anthropologie

Dress: Forever21

August 18, 2018 – Not Quite An Ivy League (OOTD #350)

Day 374: the locals are getting suspicious. I believe they’re beginning to realize that i am not, in fact, a piece of ivy.

There’s nothing like sitting yourself down in a patch of ivy in the math building’s courtyard for the sake of your fashion blog. Thankfully, there were no classes going on, so I was at little risk of getting “caught” taking photos by myself, but it was still a little awkward, nonetheless.

If there’s anything this blog has taught me, it’s how to ignore how awkward it feels taking pictures in public. Here’s my secret: I just don’t think about it.

I know, that’s horrible advice — just don’t be nervous, and you won’t have anxiety! Just don’t be sad, and you won’t have depression! In this case, though, and probably this case only, it works for me. If I can ignore how uncomfortable I feel by focusing on acting like I’m confident and self-assured taking photos in public, I find that my actual anxiety lowers as a result.

But in general, what I like best is taking photos away from the curious (sometimes judgmental) glances of strangers. That’s why this ivy garden worked so well. It was just me and the plants, and as you know, I love me some plants. 

In an ideal world, humanity would have somehow developed a technology to make plants sentient, and I’d just have the plants take pictures for me instead of people. I guess if the plants were sentient then they could still be judgmental…I guess this plan’s a bit flawed.

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!

Sweater: thrifted

Top: thrifted

Shorts: Forever21

July 29, 2018 – Flowers, Always and Always (OOTD #338)

I’m pretty sure that’s an Oscar Wilde quote — don’t quote me on that, though.

One of the most enjoyable bits of going out with my family is trying to find the best locations for photos — it’s great because my dad actually enjoys photography, and I enjoy taking pictures of myself for this blog. Unlike when I’m out with friends, and I feel a little awkward asking for them to constantly take pictures of me, my dad’s a pretty nonjudgmental dude, or at least he acts like it, so there’s no awkwardness.

With the discomfort of asking for photos out of the way, I’m free to fully enjoy hunting for good locations and lighting. I think my dad enjoys it too.

On this day, we happened upon a lovely garden, which we agreed would make for an excellent fashion photography background. I’m a sucker for plants, as you probably know by now.

I’m personally not as into outdoor plants as I am their indoor counterparts — there’s just something about the unique circumstance of indoor plants, that they exist inside despite not occurring there naturally, that fascinates me. I can appreciate a good outdoor garden though, especially if it’s colorful like this one.

My favorite part I think were these hanging basket flowers that were set up against a fence, creating something of a wall of flowers. I’m going to have to keep that in mind for something to try once I have a house of my own.

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: Anthropologie

Skirt: Forever21

July 15, 2018 – Dans le jardin des rêves (OOTD #331)

I sure hope that French is correct.

Welp, the conference is now over, and I’m on my own in Kathmandu. Or rather, not entirely on my own — I’m with another Notre Dame student who had attended the conference — but we’re relatively alone.

I did London by myself last summer, which was no problem at all. It’s London, it’s not terribly different from the US, and in some ways, it’s even easier to navigate. The Underground is truly a marvel. Kathmandu, on the other hand, is nothing like the US, and quite impossible to navigate.

There are practically no street names. There are no addresses. There are no signs, or traffic lights, or subway systems. You can go on TripAdvisor and look up the biggest tourist attractions, and then ask a taxi to take you there, but it’s not a very good city for independent exploration — you may never be able to make it make back to your hotel!

Anyway, after a long, stiflingly hot taxi ride from Dhulikhel to Kathmandu, dropping off people at the airport and at their various hotels on the way, Allie (the other ND student with me) and I went to our BnB.

Allow me, really quickly, to say, that if you’re in Kathmandu and looking for a relatively inexpensive BnB within walking distance of the tourist district Thamel, Cocina Mitho Chha is an excellent choice. As a social enterprise, it uses its funds to maximize improvements in the social sphere — in this case, by educating underprivileged young people in hospitality skills that will allow them to get jobs in the hotel industry. The food was great, the service was great, its mission is admirable — overall, a lovely experience.

After getting settled in, we decided to go check out something called the Garden of Dreams, which was about a twenty minute walk away from our BnB. That’s where these photos are from. It was a really beautiful, and quiet spot, a nice respite from the chaos of Kathmandu.

Otherwise, we allowed ourselves to have a pretty relaxing day, not rushing around and not pushing ourselves. We did some shopping, had dinner at a bar where they showed the World Cup, and basically just tried to recover, mentally and physically, from the intensity of the conference we’d just spent the last two weeks devoting ourselves to. Or rather, we tried to relax, as much as we could, in an insane and hectic city like Kathmandu.

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: Forever21

Pants: American Eagle

June 30, 2018 – Calm Before The Storm (OOTD #317)

Here I am, my first full day in Nepal!

This was the day that most of the students attending the Madrasa Discourses conference were to be arriving, meaning I was finally not completely alone at the lodge! My two roommates arrived, one of whom is a Notre Dame student I was vaguely familiar with before Nepal, and one of whom is a Pakistani woman in a full niqab (who arrived at like, 1 AM in the morning, the poor thing).

In all, there are about 20ish Pakistani students, 20ish Indians, 7 South Africans, and 7 American students from Notre Dame. Since there was no programming today, those of us who arrived in the afternoon (or like me, the previous night), simply hung out, chatted, and took meals together to socialize and kill time.

An American student, a Pakistani-German student, and I were all feeling energetic enough to go for a short hike after lunch, so we decided to venture down the mountain of Dhulikel. We heard there was a village at the bottom, but little did we know, that village was probably a solid two miles away. Two miles isn’t bad when you’re jogging on flat terrain, but walking down a steep mountain is another thing. We didn’t even make it a quarter of the way before giving up and turning around, sweaty and exhausted. Meanwhile, several local Nepali people walked by, steady-footed and swift, to put us all to shame. At least we got a pretty view of the area as we went down.

I wanted to get some sleep after our walk, but I knew it would be best for me if I stayed up all day and didn’t sleep until the night. The jet lag was hitting me like a truck at that point, and even though I desperately wanted to take a nap, I resisted.

That night though, I of course had very little luck actually sleeping. I got about three hours before my Pakistani roommate showed up, and after that, I really wasn’t able to sleep anymore. My body kind of hates itself for the nine hours and forty-five minute time difference, so I guess I can’t blame it.

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: Abercrombie

Pants: Forever21

Scarf: My mother’s closet

June 29, 2018 – Welcome to Nepal (OOTD #316)

Here I am in Nepal, finally!

It took a little under 30 hours of total travel time, but I finally made it here to Dhulikel, Nepal, just outside of Kathmandu.

The majority of my travel story can be found here, in the Saturday Musings post published on that day, but allow me to fill you in on the rest of the journey.

So after running through the disgustingly poorly organized O’Hare airport in order to catch my flight to Abu Dhabi, I had 17 hours sitting in a tiny, cramped aisle seat thousands of feet above the ground. It was quite different from my experience flying first class all the way to London.  

On the way, I attempted to get some reading done for the conference I was to be attending, but I only made it about halfway through before I started nodding off, It’s not that the content wasn’t interesting — the articles were over feminism, theology, philosophy — but there was too much to try to get through in one sitting. 17 hours was definitely enough time to have gotten it done had I had the motivation but…I lacked the motivation.

After watching Moana and Beauty and the Beast (the mediocre live action version) on the entertainment system, slipping in and out of sleep for hours, and eating one of the most disgusting turkey sandwiches I’ve had in my entire life, I made it to Abu Dhabi.

I only had about two hours in Abu Dhabi before I had to fly the remaining five hours to Kathmandu, so sadly, I didn’t have the time to do anything but walk through the airport and wait for my plane. Had I had more time, perhaps I would have tried to see the city a little — it’s not like I expect to be in the UAE again any time soon.

Once I made it to Kathmandu, all that was left was to get my visa, make it through customs, exchange money, go through airport security for the 20th time, claim my baggage, and then find the taxi that was waiting for me to take me to the hotel. Simple, right?

Actually, I guess it was just about as simple as I could have asked for it to have been. The only hitch I really experienced before I made it to Dhulikel was way overtipping the cabbie, but if that’s the worst that happened to me, then I suppose I wasn’t in too bad a shape.

Driving though Kathmandu alone at night was perhaps the scariest thing of the entire trip — I’ve been bad traffic before in China, but it had been a long time and I was not at all prepared for Kathmandu driving. Are there lanes? Are there speed limits? Are there lights or laws or licenses?

When I finally arrived at the hotel, I didn’t have the energy for much more than eating a small meal and then crawling slowly to my room. 30 hours of travel I guess will do that to you.

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: Forever21

Pants: Abercrombie

June 26, 2018 – Sock Story (OOTD #313)

Check out these cool socks.

I actually got them against my mother’s wishes (what a rebel, I know) — she thought they were ugly and had no stylistic purpose, but I thoroughly disagreed. It was an impulse buy, one of those things that just sit in bins by the checkout counter in order to lure you into spending a few extra dollars. but as impulse buys go, I think it was a good one.

The couple of times I’ve worn these socks, they always manage to tie the outfit together in ways I would not expect. They’re really quite magical.

Imagine, if you can, this outfit without the red socks. Or don’t, and just take my word when I say that the outfit wasn’t really working without them.

So I was standing there in my room, skirt, top, and jacket already on, and I wasn’t feeling it. The proportions were off, the vibe wasn’t right, and I knew I needed to add something to tie everything together. After briefly considering a necklace, thigh-high socks, or tights, I thought I would try my red ankle socks.

And obviously, given the title of this blog and all of the photos you’ve seen thus far, it worked! The red socks turned an otherwise “off” outfit into something I believe is actually quite fashionable. Funny, sometimes, how something as small as some socks can really tie an entire outfit together.

There’s more to the story about this outfit, though — this was worn two days before I left for Nepal, and I really wanted to wear something distinctively fun, something that I couldn’t wear in the more conservative context of the Islamic theology conference I’ll be attending. There, I’ll be restricted to wearing loose-fitting and more professional clothes, which is fine and all, but I really wanted to wear something a little more exciting before I had to start wearing button-downs and culottes everyday.

I don’t know, but I feel like this carpetbag-pattered skirt, band tee, and velvet socks achieved that goal. Hopefully it’ll tide me over until I return to the US and I can be fun again.

Besides, these are my “rebel” socks, that I got despite what my mother advised. What could be more fun than that?

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life 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: Hot Topic

Jacket: thrifted

Skirt: Forever21

Socks: DSW

June 23, 2018 – Color Scheming (OOTD #310)

As those of you who follow my Instagram might know, I am very careful about maintaining a particular color order of my posts.

This is how it works — I post nine photos, usually three each day (or at least, the goal), that all have a very strong color story of a particular color. These nine photos form a square on my feed, allowing that entire block of pictures to be perceived as that color when someone scrolls through my profile. I go in rainbow order order, i.e, I post a block of nine bluish photos, followed by nine greenish photos, and so on.

Here’s what’s great: it makes my feed appear very colorful, and transitions from one color to another is fairly easy because I always know the order of what should come next. 

Here’s what’s not great:  certain colors are much harder than others to get nine photos that all work together. For example, green is a very easy color scheme — I just have to get photos that incorporate a lot of foliage or grass. On the other hand, pink or purple is very difficult, as there is not much in the natural world or the manmade that is predominantly pink and purple.

So when I do come across a pink wall or a big purple bush, I get excited because it means I have good content for my Instagram feed. That’s where today’s outfit comes in.

I had worn this outfit to my internship in Frankfort, not really putting any thought into it beyond the fact that I wanted something nice to wear because I had a naturalization ceremony to attend. Actually, I felt a little underdressed for the ceremony, like I should have worn something a little nicer than a cardigan and trousers — but that’s not important to the story.

The point is, the outfit I chose to wear had nothing to do really with my whole Instagram color scheme strategy. I hadn’t even been sure I would do outfit photography that day, since it’s not like it was a special outfit or a special occasion. 

My mind was changed though, when my parents and I decided to go to Red Robin for dinner that night, and i came across this pinkish-purple wall. My otherwise uninteresting outfit then became the perfect subject for the background, as the colors worked well together. 

But actually, I’m beginning now to question whether I ought to continue with this color scheme Instagram plan. It’s a lot of work to organize, and results in me doing things like I did with this outfit where I am forced to restrict myself to particular colors and backgrounds. I feel like there has to be a better way to create a coherent, visually appealing feed without limiting my creativity in this way, you know? 

If you have any suggestions, please let me know! I know a lot of my readers are bloggers themselves, so I’d love it if you could share your Instagram organization strategies with me in the comments. 

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: The LOFT

Top: Forever21

Pants: J Crew

June 19, 2018 — The Blues (OOTD #306)

Get ready, because you’re about to see about a week-worth of blue outfits.

I’m not really sure how it happened, but for some reason, I wound up wearing several predominantly blue outfits all in a row. I guess you could say I was feeling a little blue? 😉

Maybe it was a residual effect of Father’s Day — my dad’s favorite color is blue, to the point that the vast majority of his shirts are blue (though to be fair, he’s getting much better now that my mother and I have mentioned his blue fixation), so perhaps I was just following his example.

I don’t really have a proper explanation. The last time I wore this much blue was probably the 2014 March Madness when the University of Kentucky won the college basketball championship, though that was more of a royal blue shade. My point being, it’s not like blue’s my favorite color, or I have a greater number of blue clothes in my wardrobe than any other color.

Sometimes, things like that just happen in fashion — you wear several similar style shirts in a row, or you wear the same pair of shoes with every outfit (I know I definitely do this!) or you wear all one particular color. For me, what’s important is that I recognize that I’m getting stagnant and make an effort to switch things up.img_0770

Today’s outfit, though, was blue, if only because my shawl (Is that the best word for it? It’s not a jacket…it’s not a sweater…) was. Isn’t it interesting that a single colored piece of clothing in an otherwise neutral ensemble can make the entire outfit read as colored?

For real though, if someone has a proposal for what to call this blue sheer-top thing, I’m all ears. I’ve had it since my New York trip my senior year of high school, and it’s traveled with me all the way to London (in fact, it even made it to Buckingham Palace, the Pride Festival, and Platform 9 3/4), and I still don’t really know what I should refer to it as. I wasn’t even sure that I was going to buy it at first, since it’s not even my size and thus doesn’t fit the way it’s “supposed” to, at least in the designer’s mind. It was on sale though, so I went for it. Guess it was a good buy.

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!

Shawl thing: Forever21

Skirt: The LOFT