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.

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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 11, 2019 – Georgetown Getaway (OOTD #579)

Georgetown really is a getaway in relation to DC.

It’s the strangest experience. You’re walking along, through the concrete jungle of downtown DC (or is it more of a concrete forest? I’m not sure “jungle” is quite the right word, when you compare it to the proper concrete jungle, New York City), and suddenly, it all disappears — the tall buildings, the streetlights, the concrete sidewalks, all gone. You go over a bridge that reaches over a busy highway, walk past a nature preserve, and suddenly, you’re in the 18th century.

Georgetown reminds me of the more modern parts of Williamsburg. I visited there once as a kid, and I remember it being one of my favorite trips, and honestly probably part of the reason why I became a history major. It was like Disneyworld, but for colonial America. I was like a little girl seeing Elsa for the first time, except Elsa for me was a lady in an 18th century dress churning butter.

Georgetown feels worlds away from downtown DC, and yet it’s literally just a footbridge away from the main city. It’s got colorful little buildings, brick sidewalks, and narrow paths. It’s also got the Potomac River, which is always a nice view.

I wish its quaint appearance carried over into its shops and restaurants. However, as a consequence of its proximity to Georgetown University and general heritage of a rich white people neighborhood, its shops and restaurants are all rather high-end — as the kids say, boujee. It looks like a neighborhood where you’d find thrift shops and used book stores, but instead, it’s all J. Crew and Kate Spade and Moleskine.

My issues with its gentrified status aside, Georgetown is still a really nice place to walk around. I like bringing guests there because it’s normally a place they haven’t been before and a place they didn’t expect to exist in Washington DC. If you haven’t been, I’d definitely recommend you check it out.

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!


Dress: Express

Coat: A vintage shop in Budapest

November 10, 2019 – Memory, All Alone in the Moonlight (OOTD #578)

The next day of Jane’s visit, we went to the Pentagon City shopping mall.

It was funny; for the first hour we were there, I had this funny feeling that I had been there before. But that couldn’t be — I knew for certain that I had never come this way while I was living in DC, had never even gotten off at the Pentagon City stop. I visited the Pentagon itself, sure, on a class trip earlier that semester, but I simply passed by Pentagon City without so much as a glance.

As we walked around and shopped (including spending $200 on Express clothes for a sponsored Instagram post — thanks, Express!), I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had been there before. There was something about it that looked familiar, but I couldn’t place it.

It wasn’t until I looked up at the ceiling that I realized why I felt like I had been there before — it was because I had, but not during this semester in DC. No, I was here back when I was in 5th grade on a trip with my parents to see New York City and Washington DC. I hadn’t been able to recognize the mall until I glanced upwards and saw the distinctive geometric shape of the four floors reaching up to the glass sky.

Funny how memories like that work —  I wonder how many other times I’ve gotten the feeling that I’ve recognized someone or someplace but I haven’t been able to place them because I was overlooking a particular detail that would have reminded me of who/what they were? There are probably people and places we’ve been that we’ve completely forgotten, that we’ll never be able to remember again on our own unless something triggers the memory — and even then, there may be some memories that can never be triggered again. Like, you can’t disprove that those memories exist because you can’t remember them…but they’re probably there.

There, make that your sequel to Inside Out, Pixar.

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!


Blouse: Express

Trousers: Express

Headband: Express

November 9, 2019 – A Long Time Coming (OOTD #577)

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that it took me a while to start having fun in DC.

And that’s true. I spent the first two months doing pretty much nothing but going to work, coming home, going to class, and then repeating the next day. Up until November, I wasn’t really doing anything to take advantage of my residence in DC.

But, as I also mentioned in that earlier blog post, once I did start having fun, I really went for it. Apparently, turning 21 made all the difference.

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About a week after my 21st birthday, my best friend, Jane came and visited. Jane has been a good friend of mine since I was 11 years-old, and she’s the only person I still keep in contact with from my old Louisville days. She and I met through a mutual friend in choir in 6th grade, and, though we weren’t necessarily super close in 6th grade, she somehow wound up as the only person from Louisville who kept up with texting me after I moved to Lexington.

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It’s kind of like my friendship with Amanda — Amanda and I were also not super close in high school when we actually saw each other every day. It was only once we went to university and moved to different cities that we became good friends. Wonder why that happens?

I’m a little surprised Jane hasn’t appeared more on this blog, given how often I go back to Louisville or up to Cincinnati. I guess it’s because I usually only see her for lunch or something short like that, so there’s never really time to take pictures worth making a blog out of. The last time I saw her in person, it was March 2019, and we just got lunch together in Cincinnati as I passed by on my way home for spring break. It was such a short trip, she didn’t even appear in any pictures. Then, I saw her in January 2019, and I was sick as a dog after having come home from Vichy, France — definitely not in any shape to take pictures for a blog.

The last time she actually appeared in pictures on my blog was the summer after I graduated high school. I visited her in Louisville for a few days just two weeks before I began at Notre Dame. We went to the mall, broke into my old elementary school, and ate doughnuts.

This time, Jane came and visited me in Washington DC over Veterans’ Day weekend. I had off from work that Monday, and so we had the whole long weekend to spend together from Friday night to Monday night.

And it was just as much fun as always! It was nice getting to be the hostess for once instead of the guest; I feel like most of the time when I see Jane, it’s me visiting her rather than the other way around because she lives in the more interesting city than I do (no offense, Lexington). Since I was spending the semester in DC, which is, for once, a cool city, I got to take her around to all of the cool places.

On Saturday, we went to the Smithsonian Botanic Gardens, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Wharf. Excluding my first week or two in DC when I went on a couple of back-to-back school trips to the monuments on the Mall, this was my first time in DC actually getting to go around and see some of the touristy sites. It’s funny how, when you live somewhere, you don’t actually get to see some of its famous sites unless you put in extra effort to go to them. The same thing happened to me in Rome over the summer.

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: A vintage shop in Budapest

Dress: thrifted (Buffalo Exchange)

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

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.

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don’t talk to me or my sons ever again

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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.

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sleepy ocean puppy

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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 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.