September 14, 2019 – Out (OOTD #563)

(I hope you don’t mind, but I’m trying to transition from blog posts every day to every other day for now. Every day was a little difficult to keep up with — and besides, now that  I’m only a month and a half behind with my posts compared to three months behind like earlier this year,I’m not as concerned about catching up on a summer’s worth of travels that I might forget)

I love to be out. I don’t so much love to be out late into the night.

I think I’m becoming my parents. They also don’t like to be out late at night, whether it’s at the movies or the mall or a restaurant. It was like pulling teeth sometimes to convince my dad to take me out Black Friday shopping when I was a kid.

But now, I’m the one whose teeth need to be pulled in order to get her to be out past 10pm. I don’t understand what happened. I’m still capable of pulling a late night at the office or the library if I slam coffee, but being out that late for food? Or a drink? That’s going to be a no from me.

Sometimes, though, my body and my brain can be bothered to agree, and I can manage to get myself to go out at night. As was the case here, with the “Art All Night” event in the Shaw neighborhood.

It was a cute idea for an event — basically, a bunch of shops and restaurants kept their doors open later than usual on a Saturday night so that people could come do art-related activities. A gym had a canvas painting station, and a restaurant had some postcards to decorate.

I think what excited me most of all, though, was the plant shop giving out free flower cuttings. There was only one per person, but no one else in the group wanted theirs, so I got to take them all. I was so pleased, that I even bought a succulent that I definitely don’t need.  I guess their marketing techniques worked.

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: Vintage (thrifted)

Skirt: Pull and Bear

 

August 21, 2019 – Lights, Camera (OOTD #552)

I never cease to be amazed at what a good photographer with a good camera can do.

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I don’t know to what extent you notice this, but the quality of my photographs varies greatly between blog posts based on who is taking the picture and on what device. Some of my best pictures are taken on my current iPhone by my father (who just has a really excellent eye for composition). Some of my worst from the early days of this blog were taken using my laptop webcam balanced on top of some textbooks and empty Cheez-It boxes.

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To be quite honest, these are probably some of my best ever — and the best I’m going to have for quite some time, until I’m either rich and can afford to pay a professional photographer to follow me around or until I make a loyal photographer friend who just enjoys taking my picture every day. Until then, I’ll have to settle for my iPhone and my Apple Watch’s remote camera feature for every day pictures.DSC_6795 copy.jpg

And that’s okay! Honestly, for as much fun as a full photo shoot can be, it’s also kind-of exhausting. I run out of poses and facial expressions after a while. I don’t know how professional models do it.

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These were taken by my friend, Adam Brester, a professional photographer, the same man who did my senior portraits way back in the day. You can even see examples from some of that season on his website! 

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Adam lives in Lexington, but he’s looking at potentially moving soon, so we thought it would be nice to do another session together before I headed to Washington DC and he headed to wherever life takes him next. He was looking for a subject for some portraits that he could add to his portfolio, and I was happy to get some Instagram content in exchange.DSC_6818 copy.jpg

Watching Adam work gives me an increased appreciation for photography as an art form. Of all of the mediums of the visual arts, such as painting or drawing, photography is probably the one I understand the least. Ironically, it is also probably the one that I deal with the most in my everyday life — I don’t paint every day, but I probably take at least one photo each day, whether it’s just a dumb selfie to send to my Snapchat streaks or an OOTD shot for this blog.

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Even if I take pictures every day, I certainly do not do so in the capacity of a “photographer.” Maybe an “artist,” at least in the sense that I consider my outfit stylings to be artistic, and I attempt to use my backgrounds and compositions to complement the artistry of the outfit. But a photographer — one who truly understands light and color and the various settings of the camera to create a desired effect — I certainly am not.

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That’s why watching someone like Adam work is so fascinating. I love watching people do things they’re good at that I am not. I love listening to film critics talk about cinematography, and I love watching musicians learn new pieces. I can’t do those either of those things with any skill, but I think it’s neat that there are people who can and who derive joy from their art. It may not be my art, but I’m glad it’s someone else’s.

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Plus, it was just nice to go out into the city and goof around for the evening. I wasn’t really home in Lexington much over the summer, and the time I did have, I didn’t really spend going out and doing anything. Mostly, I was just sitting at home trying either to get some rest after having returned from traveling or to pack to get ready to go traveling again.DSC_7171 copy.jpg

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

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Outfit 1: Tomato

Top: H&M

Skirt: Forever21

Outfit 2: Dragon lady

Top: Unknown

Skirt: The LOFT

Outfit 3: Hot dog saleswoman

Jacket: Vintage (thrifted, Foxhouse Vintage)

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: A street vendor in Nepal

August 9, 2019 – Shell Shock (OOTD #543)

I couldn’t leave the Galápagos Islands without seeing their most famous feature: the tortoises.IMG_4719.jpeg

On my last day on the Islands, we packed our bags and disembarked from the boat for the last time, early in the morning.

While it was definitely sad to bid the boat adieu, it was not sad to bid the rocking motion of the boat and the waves adieu. Like I mentioned in a previous post, thankfully,  I was not burdened with horrible seasickness, like some of my friends were. I definitely didn’t not feel the constant movement of the ship, however, and so I was always wary to avoid looking out at the waves for too long or thinking too much about the motion.

Being back on land again was so funny. I mean, I had been been off the boat every day for the previous week, but only for a few hours at a time. Being back on land again — like, permanently — made me realize how much I missed it.

It took me forever to get my so-called “land-legs” back. I think the worst of it was when I was on the flights back. The change in air pressure from being in the sky along, with the motion of being in a speeding airplane, in addition to the residual sensation of being on a rocking boat would be enough to make anyone feel a little queasy.

But before there were flights and landsickness and air pressure to worry about, I got to see the Galápagos Tortoises, arguably the biggest celebrities of the island. Our last stop of the cruise was to a small “tortoise reserve” (in reality, it was just some random guy with a farm who charged admission to let people in to see the tortoises who would have lived there anyway).

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don’t talk to me or my son ever again

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What remarkable creatures. I don’t know if they were my favorite animals that I saw on the trip (I think that honor would go to the sea lions or the birds), but they were up there.

They’re just so stupidly big. And slow. I see why the full-sized adults don’t really have any predators — who could take them down? Sure, they can’t run and they can’t hide, but they’re so massive and well-armored that there’s nothing you could do if you caught one. It would be like attacking a rock.

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I heard that Charles Darwin tried to ride them when he first saw them. I see why. I wanted to do it too. I didn’t, obviously — that would have been very much against the reserve’s rules and possibly even the law — but it was tempting. Their shells look like perfect saddles. IMG_4808

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 the Galápagos Islands this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Jacket: Forever21

Top: Ecseri Bazaar in Budapest

Trousers: J. Crew

August 6, 2019 – The Suite Life on Deck (OOTD #540)

*blog post features no actual images of me on the cruise ship

I’ve never been on a cruise before.

This trip has been full of firsts — first time in South America, first time snorkeling, first time on a cruise. Unlike snorkeling, though, I’ve actually really enjoyed cruise ship life. Unlike South America, though, as much as I enjoyed it I wouldn’t necessarily go and do it again immediately.

I liked the cruise, and I would definitely do one again eventually if given the opportunity. I really appreciated how everything was taken care of for you — there was someone to pick you up at the airport and guide you to the boat, there was someone to carry your bags to your room as soon as you got on board, there was a chef and full kitchen staff so all you had to do was show up in the dining room at meal times. It’s what I imagine vacation for rich people is like.

But since everything is taken care of for you, there’s a lot less autonomy on your part in deciding what to do each day. The boat might offer a range of options — snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, etc. — but they’re still the boat’s options. There’s no such thing as deciding you don’t like any of their options and going off on your own.

There’s also a lot of just waiting on the boat as you travel from one island to another. In principle, I don’t like that — who wants to spend half of their day in transit? But in practice, it was actually kind-of nice to have a built-in rest period during the day. I took a lot of much-needed naps.

Gratefully, I didn’t have trouble at all with seasickness. I’ve been on boats before, but only for a few hours at a time — not for a whole week. I wasn’t sure how my body would react. Turns out, it didn’t really react at all. Sometimes, if I looked out at the window and saw the waves rushing by, I’d feel dizzy, but otherwise, I faired surprisingly well. Honestly, the worst was getting off the boat at the end of the week. I felt like everything was rocking back and forth for days afterwards.

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 the Galápagos Islands this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Top: Amazon

Shorts: H&M

Hat: Target

July 19, 2019 – Allez, Allez, Allez (OOTD #535)

Wait, this isn’t the right kind of football.

After spending the night at Amanda’s in Indianapolis, it was off to beautiful, sunny South Bend.

Guess what? It actually was sunny for once. I’d never been to campus before in mid-summer, but as it turns out, Northern Indiana can get quite warm in July, a distinct departure from its typical below-freezing environment that I have to deal with 75% of the time that I’m there during the academic year.

In fact, it was too hot. Way too hot — like, 100 degrees hot with a 60% humidity index on top of that.

July 6, 2019 – Bizarre Bazaar (OOTD #527)

I can’t believe I didn’t use that as one of my Instagram captions.

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young trash that likes looking at old trash

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As promised from yesterday’s blog about Budapest Central Market, I’m here now to discuss the superior of the two major markets in Budapest: the Ecseri Bazaar.

Being fair, they are two very different markets; it almost doesn’t make sense to compare them. Central Market focuses on food and *some* gifts and trinkets for tourists, while Ecseri is essentially a flea market. Central Market sells things that are brand new, while Ecseri sells things that are secondhand and vintage. Given my track record of buying vintage clothing, guess which one I was drawn to more?

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hey macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?

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I went with my friend, Bilal, and I think he was bored out of his mind. Too bad for him, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I absolutely adore looking at people’s old junk — especially people’s old junk in different countries and cultures. You can learn a lot about the history of a place by visiting a flea market, and Budapest was no exception.

I was tempted by a few pins that featured the classic Soviet hammer and sickle insignia, but there was no way to tell if they were authentic vintage pieces or just made in China reproductions for tourists like me. In the end, I wound up with two blouses and a coat — all for under 20 USD.

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yes homo

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In the afternoon,  I attended the Budapest Pride Parade alongside my friend and his Central European University friends. Of the various protests/parades/marches I’ve participated in in the last three years, this one may have been the most significant. Here’s the thing: marches are often boring. You walk super slowly, you maybe say a few chants, and you look at the funny signs. Maybe you get a cute picture for Instagram,. You don’t go because you want to have fun; you go because you care about the issue, or at the very least, civil society’s right to protest about their issue.

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dude, that’s gay

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This is an overgeneralization, but for the other marches I’ve attended, the marchers wanted an expansion on something that already existed. For example, at the climate change strike in Rome, the students wanted the Italian government to do more than what they were doing to stop the climate crisis. For this march, the marchers wanted something that doesn’t really exist at all in Hungary — LGBTQ rights.

That’s a significant difference, at least for me as a participant. In the latter case — advocating to have something that doesn’t exist — you feel more like a catalyst, like a trailblazer. It’s riskier to say you want something new than to say you want more of something you already have some of. Both are perfectly valid forms of demonstration, but one, to me as an individual, is more personally engaging.

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


Outfit 1:

Top: Forever21

Trousers: Thrifted (Salvation Army)

Outfit 2:

Top: Vintage (thrifted, Ecseri Bazaar)

Shorts: PacSun

June 28, 2019 – Arrivederci (OOTD #522)

My final weekend in Rome, I finally visited the Vatican Museums.

I was there in Rome for a whole six weeks, literally 30 minutes away from the Vatican by Metro, and I never bothered to go until my final week. It wasn’t out of a lack of interest, believe me — when I was first preparing to go to Rome, I knew that the Vatican was on the top of my list of things to see.

As it turned out, though, I saw a lot of things before I got around to the Vatican. The Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, a climate change protest, a movie studio, a vineyard, a couple of Italian cities, and even a Danish city — some of which weren’t even places I’d intended to go in the first place — all wound up getting crossed off my list before the Vatican.

But don’t worry — I wasn’t about to allow myself to leave Rome without seeing the Vatican Museums. After fighting with their outdated website trying to find a day that wasn’t completely booked until December and finally settling for one of their special extended nighttime hours, I shelled out the 20 euro admission fee for tickets.

And I’m so glad I did. I’ve discussed things that I did this summer in Europe that I don’t think we were worth the time or money — but the Vatican Museums absolutely were worth every euro. I could have spent hours in the Sistine Chapel looking at the ceiling, and a couple more hours looking at the single Francis Bacon painting they had.

I went with a couple of my Notre Dame friends whom I had wound up spending quite a bit o time with this summer. They were the ones who went with me to Florence and Naples, and so by the end of my six weeks, we’d gotten to be good friends. I was the first one of the interns to leave, so it was kind of them to agree to get dinner and visit the Museums before I left.

But my Notre Dame friends weren’t the only people I had to say goodbye — or “arrivederci” to. There were also my two supervisors from my internship, Fr. Felix and Sr. Sheila. My final day at the office, they took me out to lunch, and I gave them each thank you cards telling them to keep in touch. I wrote extensively about my internship experience at the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Commission in this blog, so if you’d like some in-depth reflections, check there.

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the future is full of pastabilities

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Lastly, there were my friends from the Lay Centre, whom I honestly only got to be friends with in the final two weeks I was in Rome. What took me so long to make friends? For one, when I first arrived, most of the other students there were preparing for their final exams and didn’t have much time for making friends with a random American girl who was only going to be there for a little over a month, especially when they’d already been there for a whole semester (or more) and established their friend groups. Additionally, I spend a lot of my time towards the beginning of my time in Rome not actually in Rome — for three weekends in a row, I left the city and went to other cities or countries entirely. Admittedly, that wasn’t exactly the best practice for making friends at home.

But towards the end, as I got more comfortable with the Lay Centre community and the other students finished up their schoolwork, I discovered that I absolutely loved it there. I wish I had spent more time there in the beginning and gotten to know the people even better. In the end, I made at least three English friends, an Irish friend, an Italian friend, and three American friends. I don’t know when or if I’ll get to see them again, but if I’m back in the area again, I’ll definitely try to stop by.

And with that, my six weeks in Rome and my internship came to a close. As I mentioned, I wound up having farewell lunch with my bosses, farewell dinner with my Notre Dame friends, and farewell drinks with my Lay Centre friends — so I felt pretty farewell-ed out by the time it was time to go.

Time to go — but to go where? The European adventure doesn’t end there; there are two more weeks of traveling still to write about. Check back tomorrow to see where I went after Rome!

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


Dress: Forever21

June 15, 2019 – Not Florida (OOTD #518)

Wait, this isn’t Naples, Florida.

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wait, this isn’t florida

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I’ve actually never been to Naples, Florida. I haven’t actually traveled much around Florida, despite it being the go-to vacation destination for every family that lived south of the Mason-Dixon line from about 2006-2015. I’ve seen Orlando and Destin and Panama City Beach, but otherwise, that’s about it. Don’t tell anyone from Florida, but I don’t actually like Florida that much.

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mall rat

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So while I’ve never been to Naples, Florida to compare it to Naples, Italy, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Naples, Italy (also known as Napoli in Italian) is the better of the two. If you’ve been to both and have an opinion, feel free to fact check me.

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twisted my ankle twice on these streets

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As I discussed in my post about my trip to Florence, Northern and Southern Italy have extremely distinct cultures, a distinction that even I, an uncultured American, noticed in comparing Florence and Rome (both of which are actually more Central than Northern or Southern). Naples, the southernmost location I visited in Rome (and furthermore, considered by many to be emblematic of what makes the South of Italy unique compared to Central and Northern Italy) blew the Florence-Rome comparison out the water.

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i’m having a moment

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Naples was very different — both from Rome and Florence, but especially Florence. It’s like comparing a gated community with a private school that Felicity Huffman paid for her children to go to, to the neighborhood that Kelley Williams-Bolar falsified her address in order to prevent her children from having to school in. Can you guess if Naples is the Felicity Huffman or the Kelley Williams-Bolar?

In fact, when I returned to Rome from Naples, the first thing a friend said to me was “Oh, you didn’t get mugged! I guess you didn’t get an authentic tour.”

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not a bad view

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Actually, I don’t think Naples is as bad as its reputation. Sure, it was a little sketchy, especially that first night after I arrived after sundown and had to find the AirBnB. And the beach weren’t the cleanest. And one half of our friend group got kicked out of their hotel room after it turned out that they’d booked through a fraudulent website. At least the roads were better than Rome’s — no twisted ankles for me!

Plus, Naples had a beautiful castle — the Castel dell’Ovo, “the castle of the egg.” Don’t ask me why it’s called that. I don’t know (though I’m certain it was explained on one of the signs, I couldn’t read them as they were all in Italian). It was beautiful though, and I got some sweet photos on the way up.

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sea you around

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


Outfit 1:

Swimsuit top: Hollister

Swimsuit bottom: Target

Outfit 2:

Top: Zara

Shorts: H&M

June 9, 2019 – Go Green (OOTD #515)

Wow, have I told you how much I like plants?

I mean, I only kept a small greenhouse in my dorm room both years at Notre Dame, attended a botany class for fun my fall semester of sophomore year, and stole a spider plant from the art building because I thought I could propagate it into a new plant (spoiler alert: I did, and it’s doing fabulously).

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bugging out 🦋

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For real, plants are just such an important lifestyle choice for me. Some people like to cook, some people like to work out, some people like to read Bible verses every night before they go to bed — I like to take care of indoor plants. They’re like children or pets, but without the emotional responsibility.

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does this staircase make me look taller

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Though, if I’m honest, I do form something of a bond with my plants. I don’t name them like some of my friends do, but I become intimately familiar with their likes and dislikes. This one likes full sun. This one likes the shade. This one needs to be watered with coffee every week in order to keep its acidity levels up. Each plant is its own individual scientific experiment; over time, I’ve learned to methodically alter one independent variable at a time in order to yield the best results.

In the absence of science lab classes now that I’m a full-time humanities major, it’s the only practice of the scientific method I really have left in my daily life. It reminds me of when I was a kid and science classes were fun, before a string of lousy science teachers in high school discouraged me from continuing to pursue the practice.

If I’m ever at a point in my life where things aren’t working out and I need a drastic change, though, I would still consider one field in scientific research: botany. I would absolutely consider dropping everything I’ve studied in history and politics and international relations and completely shift gears to get my PhD in botany. Maybe some years down the road, if I’m tired and burnt out on law and ready to become one of those adults who switches careers in their middle ages, I’ll do it.

On one condition — I think I’d want to work and do research in a botanical garden, like this one in Copenhagen. I could spend hours in the greenhouses there — and Anna and I did. Honestly, I think it was one of my favorite things that I saw in all of Europe this summer, and I got to see a lot of cool stuff. There are botanical gardens everywhere; I don’t think there was anything special about this one in Copenhagen that made it different from ones in other cities. The fact that it was still one of my favorite things that I saw (and honestly, maybe my absolute favorite thing from all of Copenhagen) really goes to show how much I adore looking at plants.

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


Dress: Vintage (thrift — Brick Lane Market)

Jacket: Thrift (Clothes Mentor)

 

June 8, 2019 – Comrades in Copenhagen (OOTD #514)

Wait, this isn’t Rome.

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swish and flick

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Everything I’ve ever heard from Americans who go abroad to Europe is that you need to try to visit other countries while you’re there. Even if you have a “home base” of where you’re going to be spending the majority of your time (for me, Italy), you should try to take a weekend or two and visit a neighboring country. It’s just so much cheaper and easier to visit other countries when you’re on a continent with 44 countries, versus when you’re on a continent with three countries separated by pretty much all of the other continents by two giant oceans.

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hej og farvel

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And, very importantly, their infrastructure and public transportation is just so much better than what the US has. It’s cheaper and easier to go from Italy to France than it is to go from Kentucky to Indiana. You can get a bus or a cheap flight and be in a completely different culture — different language, different politics, different food — in just a few hours and for just a few hundred dollars, at most. In comparison, it takes a whole day of driving and/or flying to go from Lexington to South Bend — and they’re not even that different (Lexington has hills and is just generally a more beautiful place, but that’s beside the point).

Anyway, Copenhagen! Why did I go? Mostly, it was just the cost. My friend (and former roommate at ND), Anna, was studying abroad in London during the same dates as I was interning in Rome. We wanted a city somewhere in between the two where we could meet up and spend the weekend in an AirBnB, and, after a quick flight search on SkyScanner (not sponsored, by the way — I just really love this website for finding cheap flights), Copenhagen ended up being the best choice.

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joining a hippie commune, see ya never

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I arrived early afternoon on a Saturday. After dropping off my things in the room, Anna and I decided to just go for a stroll. Naturally, we had to see Nyhavn (the strip of colorful homes that look like Legos along the water), the Little Mermaid Statue, and Christiania (the hippie commune with a special legal status). We also saw some things that were a little off the typical tourist path — a man selling weed, St. Alban’s Church, and graffiti telling us to go home, to name a few.

Copenhagen is a beautiful place — perhaps the quaintest and cutest place I visited while in Europe the whole summer. It was perhaps a little too quaint and cute though, at least for me. I like a little grit to my cities — that’s why I love New York and Philadelphia so much, and that’s what I appreciate the most about Rome. It was also super expensive in terms of the cost of food and cost of admission to places. Our flights may have been cheap, but not much else was.

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reflect on this:

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I decided it would be a great place to retire — you know, after I’ve gotten rich and famous and I just want a quiet place to relax at the end of my life. After retirement is also probably the only time I’ll ever be able to afford to live in Copenhagen. I could definitely see myself as a little old lady biking along Nyhavn and buying my produce at farmers’ markets and chatting with the weed dealers in Christiania.

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look at this stuff, isn’t it neat?

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


Dress: Thrift

Jacket: Thrift (Clothes Mentor)