January 27, 2020 – I’m in Louvre (OOTD #603)

Yeah, the Louvre was pretty cool. It was so cool I don’t even have any jokes to make about it, beyond the pun-based title of this blog.

As I’ve mentioned in my last few blogs, I had quite a lot of time to kill in between my arrival in France and my actual first day of classes. It was around two weeks, actually. About one of those two weeks was devoted to the surprisingly not awful Welcome Programme, and the remaining days I spent exploring my new city.

By some dumb luck, I didn’t start classes until Wednesday the first week of school. My Mondays were clear anyway (though they didn’t remain clear — more on that scheduling nightmare in a later blog), and my Tuesday class got cancelled. That left me with half the week to try to keep myself distracted from the anxiety of starting new school in a whole different country.

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live laugh louvre

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Thankfully, it wasn’t too hard. Owing to the absolutely exhausting job of making as many friends as possible during the Welcome Programme, I was invited to spend the afternoon with two students from Boston University after they finished up their morning classes. I gratefully accepted — not only is it always really nice to be included in people’s plans, but it also gave me something to do so I didn’t make myself sick from nerves in anticipation of my first classes.

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who is that girl i see 🎶

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We actually didn’t even intend to go to the Louvre — in fact, we had planned on going to one of the other super famous French museums, the musée d’Orsay. We’d all gotten to visit the musée d’Orsay very briefly during the Welcome Programme, but it was just a rushed hour-long guided tour, and I think we were able eager to go back and set a more leisurely pace. In fact, I have no pictures from that first visit at all because of how fast it went by.

However, the musée d’Orsay was closed that rainy Monday afternoon, and in wracking our brains for other famous indoor Parisian sites we knew of that we could visit on a Monday, we naturally settled upon the Louvre.

I say “settled” as if it was some great disappointment to visit the Louvre over the d’Orsay. Far from it.img_3338

There are some tourist sites that don’t live up to the hype — in fact, I’d say that a lot of famous tourist sites don’t live up to the hype. The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is kinda lame. Big Ben in London has never not been completely obscured my construction every time I’ve visited. The Washington Monument in DC is kind of neat from a distance when it pierces the skyline but up close it’s really just a big stick.

The Louvre is awesome. Even if you don’t like art, I think the Louvre is awesome. It was the old palace of the Bourbon family, when the king for wanted to be in Paris to be more connected to political affairs rather than hidden away in his Versailles estate. Even if you think the old paintings are dusty and dull, just wandering the old palace is entertainment enough. I’d liken it to the Vatican Museums in Rome — yeah, the art is neat if you’re into that sort of thing (and I am!) but there’s a lot more to take in as well.

But yes — everything you’ve heard about the Mona Lisa is true. It’s tiny. The room that it’s in is crowded with people (and you have to remember — I was there on a rainy Monday afternoon. In January. In the middle of a massive city-wide transportation strike. It was hardly peak season, and that room was still jam packed. I can’t imagine what it’s like in the summer). As a painting, it’s underwhelming to put it kindly.img_3341

My personal favorite work in the gallery was Eugène Delacroix’s “Liberté guidant le peuple,” or “Liberty Leading the People.” For a long time, I wanted a print of it to hang in my bathroom, owing to the fact that it was used for the cover of my favorite Coldplay Album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. During that time, I also had a pretty intense Les Misérables phase — and so anything French Revolution-themed seemed col to me.

This was my one and only time I got to visit the Louvre. Like the Eiffel Tower, like Versailles, like the musée d’Orsay — I thought I’d go back. It was a given, in my mind: how on earth could I spend four months in Paris and not go back to the Louvre to explore it more thoroughly? As a student of the EU, I even got free admission! It’s the Louvre, arguably the most famous art museum in the world. Of course I’d be back.

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 the Paris, 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!


Sweater: Forever21

Blouse: Banana Republic

Scarf: My Aunt Denise

Trousers: Altar’d State

January 25, 2020 – Bus Tour de France (OOTD #602)

I really wouldn’t say that a tour bus is the best way to experience Paris.

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i just can’t place it

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I almost didn’t even go because even before I took the bus tour, I was pretty certain that it wasn’t the sort of thing for me. I was also absolutely exhausted from the night before — Friday had been the last day of the Welcome Programme (well, technically, the bus tour was the final event, but it was optional), and I was out late the previous evening at a club.

What ultimately convinced me to go was that I figured that, as a bus tour, I could sit there and look out the window most of the time. I love long train rides, and I thought, if nothing else, a bus tour of Paris would allow me to see some of the tourist sites without moving my feet. I just needed a big sun hat and plastic sunglasses and I could be a proper Asian tourist lady.

What I didn’t count on with this tour, though, was that the bus was mostly just a vessel for us to get from site to site — from there, there was actually quite a bit of walking. It was hardly a hike — honestly, I walked more on my first day in Paris and in Versailles — but I think when combined with how tired I was from the previous day (and the whole week in general), it ended up being a lot.

My social battery was also running out. I’m truly still shocked that I managed to be so extroverted during the whole of Welcome Weekend. I went to almost event, I accepted every invitation, I made an effort to be friendly and outgoing even after I was semi-comfortable in my established group of friends. I don’t normally subscribe to fomo — that is, the “fear of missing out” — but this time, I did.

And I’m glad I did. Though by the end of the week, that bus tour (followed by going to a café with friends later in the afternoon, and then going to a friend’s apartment after that, and then to dinner that night with even more friends) was absolutely draining, I think it was necessary. Compared to my semester in Washington DC, where I ended up regretting turning down a few early invitations because it meant it took me a bit longer to establish a group of friends, I started the semester in Paris with a pretty strong group. I mean, I’m sure there was also luck involved — sometimes, groups just don’t clique and there’s nothing you can do about it — but, given how my time in Paris was ultimately cut short, I’m so grateful that I spent as much time as I could early on with such a great group of people.

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 the Paris, 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: A vintage shop in Budapest  (thrifted)

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: Pitaya

January 17, 2020 – Le Grand Jour (OOTD #597)

There’s um…been a lot that’s happened in the world and in my life since my last post about January 15, 2020 .

That last post, despite being about mid-January, was actually published in mid-March. As has been the case for all of my blog posts since about spring 2018, they’re all posted quite a while after the actual calendar date they correspond with. That’s not new.

What is new is the now-seven month gap in between the publication date of a blog and the date the corresponding photos were taken. This post is about January 2020. It’s now July — and the world of July 2020 is vastly different from that of January 2020.

It’s kind of hard to put myself back into the headspace of January 2020 to even write about this day in mid-January, back in Paris. When possible, I normally try to write my blogs in the present tense — as if I’m actually reliving that day. I’m afraid that’s going to be impossible with most of my study abroad semester blogs. I doubt anyone is able to fully go back to the mentality they had at the start of this year, myself included.

For a while there, blogging didn’t really seem like an appropriate thing to do, you know? There was a global pandemic going on, not to mention the widespread protests that swept the country as the health crisis brought to the surface longstanding social inequities, in particular for Black Americans. I didn’t think my fashion blog really had place in the world at the time.img_2729

Still, I love writing, and I love reflecting on my daily life via this blog. It’ll be hard work for me to get caught up again with the months-worth of photos and outfits I’ve neglected to post about over this hiatus, but I’m going to try.img_2751

I’m going to give you the spoilers right now: I didn’t make it through the whole semester in Paris. That wasn’t of my own volition — the COVID-19 pandemic, which ground the whole world to a halt in mid-March, also brought my European semester to an abrupt end. In mid-March, shortly after my most recent blog was posted, my home university announced that it would be closing down campus for the rest of the semester and flying all of its abroad students back to the United States. Needless to say, I was devastated.

But I’ve been taking the last several months to reflect on the wonderful time I got to have in Paris and the friends I got to make, and despite the fact it was cut short, I’m so glad I got to experience what I got to experience there. And in fact, that’s kind of why I want to go back to writing again: I don’t want to forget all of the wonderful times I had in Paris, and so I want to preserve the memories I do have. It’s not ideal — I probably should’ve written down those memories sooner so as to maintain the details — but it’ll do.

These photos were from my third day in Paris. I wrote about the first day in this post here. My second day was pretty boring — not blog-worthy, apparently. I went for a walk in the evening and bought some groceries.I spent most of the day getting over my horrible jet lag.

But day 3 was a lot of fun! I went out with my roommate into the city to do some exploring. We went to le 1er arrondissement, the tourist section of town. I’m not kidding — we literally saw just about every single stereotypically Parisian site in that single day. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Seine, the Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde, the Notre Dame (the real one!), the Louvre — you name it, we probably passed it. It was also my first time on the Paris Métro, as up until that point, I’d taken busses due to the Métro running an altered schedule thanks to the transport strike.

That’s about it though — we passed them all. It was mostly a survey day of the 1er. We didn’t stop to go into the Louvre (we tried — it was closed due to a strike), we didn’t go up the Eiffel Tower, we didn’t go into any of the shops on the Champs-Élysées. We both thought we had four more months in Paris with which to do all of those things — so no need to rush on day 3, right?img_2778

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 the Paris, 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: A vintage shop in Budapest  (thrifted)

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: Abercrombie

December 21, 2019 – Antique Shop Culture (OOTD #592)

I used to hate antique shops as a kid.

For one, my parents seemed to want to go all the time. Every time we went to a new city, we had to go to the flea market or the antique mall. I didn’t get it — what was so cool about looking at old junk? And furthermore, why, when we were in a new city or vacation spot, would we bother spending our time at an antique store that sold the same 1970s furniture as all of the other antique stores across the country?

Somewhere along the way in the last 21 years, though, I changed my tune on antique shops. Now, as a piece of old junk myself, I understand the appeal of looking at other pieces of old junk. I am an antique. I relate to antiques now.

I almost never buy anything either! I could spend all day and all of my bank account on vintage clothing, but other antiques — furniture, knick knacks, etc. — I almost never actually purchase. I can’t remember the last “antique” I actually bought. Maybe an old Polaroid camera that I keep on my bookshelf as a decoration?

On this antique shop trip, I didn’t buy anything either. Nonetheless, I had a great time — we went to a few places in Louisville with my grandmother and two New Jersey uncles, including the famous Jo Ley Antiques (which is now closed, unfortunately) and a place called Architectural Salvage, which I’d never been to before.

Architectural Salvage was a great place to visit. I didn’t buy anything, and in fact, the things they sold weren’t really my style (lots of tools and furniture and furniture parts), but it was worth the visit just for the location. It’s this huge, three-building (maybe more?) complex full of staircases and courtyards and stained glass windows. It’s like a maze.

My favorite bit was the top floor of the main house, where the owners kept a bunch of plants — essentially, a makeshift greenhouse. With the stained glass windows that let in just enough sunlight on a cold winter day, it’d make for a great place to curl up with a book and a cup of coffee — if it weren’t a dirty old building full of dust and antiques. Clean it up a little bit, though, and it’d make a really cute café.

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 winter break 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!

Sponsored link: Check out this one-button women’s office wear blazer on dresshead.com!


Jacket: Vintage (thrifted, Foxhouse Vintage)

Turtleneck: The LOFT (thrifted, Goodwill)

Skirt: Forever21

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.

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i failed geography

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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.

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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