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 After fighting with their outdated website trying to find a day that wasn’t completely booked until December and finally settling for one of their special extended nighttime hours, I shelled out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)

June 1, 2019 – Friends in Firenze (OOTD #511)

It took me two weeks, but I finally made a small group of friends here in Italy!

You wouldn’t know it from these photos, since they’re not like…present in any of them but this selfie. I mean, I’m not so vain as to force the people I’m with to take a bunch of pictures with me just so that I can prove that I have friends. I’m only vain enough to force the people I’m with to take pictures of me so that I can prove that I’m out and enjoying my life.

To absolutely no one’s surprise at all, the friends I ended up making in Rome were also Notre Dame students. To my genuine surprise though, the people who wound up as my friends were not the study abroad students who lived so close to me near the Colosseum; they were actually the other interns who lived and worked in other places in the city. There was one girl who was a study abroad student, but otherwise, we were all doing independent internships.

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*mrs. puff voice* oh, neptune.

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I’d met them all very briefly back on campus at Notre Dame, but I hadn’t expected that we’d actually bond, given how on our own we were in the city. But maybe that’s why we did bond — because we were relatively on our own, with no means of making social connections. What, you didn’t seriously expect us to go out on our own and meet people, did you?

Rome’s a great city, and I miss it now that I’m gone, but after being there for two weeks, I was craving an opportunity to get out. Frascati, which I visited had visited earlier for a winery tour, hardly counted, as I was barely there half a day. I wanted a real day trip. Turns out, my five newfound friends wanted a day trip too.

Florence (also known in Italian as Firenze) is perhaps the closest major city to Rome, just an hour by the fast train or three hours by the slow train. We chose the slow train because we’re cheap. If you’re richer than me, though, I recommend taking the fast train — I’ve hard it’s quite nice.

Despite its relatively short geographic distance from Rome, Florence feels worlds about from Rome. As I understand from the very little bit of Italian culture and history that I know, Northern Italy and Southern Italy are economically, culturally, and politically separate entities, almost to the point of being separate countries in effect. They’re united by the Italian language, and not much else. Northern Italy is much more like its European neighbors, while Southern Italy is its own separate world.

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duomo? fo-sho

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What’s the point of me mentioning this? Rome and Florence are both considered Central Italy; the North/South divide shouldn’t play into the dynamic between the cities. But it does. At least, to my unknowledgeable and uncultured opinion, it does.

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i’m out of bridge-related puns, sorry

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Florence felt different from Rome. It felt richer and cleaner and quieter and more stereotypically European. Rome is insane — hot, dirty, ancient, and quite possibly falling to pieces. At times, I’ve felt that it’s almost more like Kathmandu, Nepal than other European cities that I’ve visited, such as Munich. Florence seemed to be more put-together. For one, the sidewalks weren’t constantly trying to kill me, like they were in Rome.

I wish I could have stayed in Florence for longer than I did. I feel like there was so much more to explore than I got a chance to see. Sometimes, at the end of a trip, I feel like I’ve exhausted the things to do in a city; Florence was quite the opposite. It’s a place I’d like to go back to one day, if I have the opportunity. One day was not enough.

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made some friends in firenze

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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!


Top: ASOS

Skirt: Zara

May 24, 2019 – Climate Strikes and Religious Sites (OOTD #507)

One doesn’t often go on strike with their boss.

There’s something ironic about marching alongside your supervisor in a packed Roman street, the sound of Italian teenagers’ chants overwhelming your senses and making an already-unusual situation even more surreal. I hadn’t been in this city a week yet and somehow, I’d already traded my quiet office space for the pulsating streets. As cries like “change the system and not the climate,” and “don’t rob us of our future” swelled through the crowd. I couldn’t help but feel the corners of my mouth tug upwards in bemusement – it was my fifth day on the job, and, in a quintessentially Italian experience, I was already on strike.

And here I half-expected I was going to be stuffing envelopes all day.

May 24 began for me in front of Santa Susanna in Rome, with a morning prayer with members of the the Global Catholic Climate Movement. Though I’m not Catholic, my internship was with a Catholic organization, and so a lot of meetings and events began with prayer. “Thoughts and prayers” as a phrase has been mocked for its overuse in the mainstream media to indicate a lack of willingness to do anything about an issue, but I actually found that the GCCM’s prayers offered some meaningful insights and reflections about the impact that climate change has had upon the planet. And more importantly, they weren’t just there to pray — they were there to protest.

Around the globe, it was estimated that 1664 climate change protests took place in 125 countries. The time of the marches coincided with the (then) upcoming elections in Europe, as well as the fourth anniversary of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’s second encyclical (look at all of these things I’m learning in Catholic school!). Several thousand gathered in the Piazza de Republica to march to Piazza de Venezia. I was one of them.

Some of my favorite messages on the signs included: “More ass, less gass” (though I don’t think my boss, Sr. Sheila, was as much a fan of that one), “Change the system and not the climate,” “I am away from school to teach you a lesson,” and “Don’t rob us of our future,” to name a few.

 

It was so inspiring to see so many young people— most of them the same age as me—come together to advocate energetically for the care of our planet. Often, I think, the youth get a bad reputation— we’re rebellious, we’re selfish, we’re too idealistic.

This march, with so many teenagers and young adults walking peacefully along side elder climate change advocates, demonstrated that if we seem rebellious, it’s because we’re passionate about this issue. If we seem selfish, it’s because climate change will affect our gen- eration and each one that follows—and we want our children to know we did everything we could to give them a healthy planet to grow up in. If we seem ideal- istic, it’s because we are. We truly believe that a drastic but coordinated effort by our governments and fellow citizens can help prevent catastrophic climate change.

For me, as a student of history and peace studies, what I appreciated most was that the march was non-violent, from start to finish. The-students were assertive, but peaceful, and that is the kind of action I hope to see more of in the world.

I walked alongside Sr. Sheila and her friend, Sr. Cecilia, in what must have been a very odd grouping of people: an American nun, a Filipina nun, and an Chinese-American student. Sr. Cecilia and I carried a sign that read “Laudato Si” in remembrance the encyclical, in which Pope Francis offered the Church’s promise to care the environment and for the integrity of creation.

Sr. Cecilia was a cool nun. I haven’t met many nuns in my life to compare her to, but I’d have to say that she’s probably the coolest nun alive. Not only was she there at a protest, a little old Filipina lady in a crowd full of Italian teenagers, but she would yell at them if they looked at us funny  (which they did, because like I said, we looked rather out of place).

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i don’t know what to do with my hands

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And she took invited me to lunch the Basilica Santa Sabina, her convent, after we inevitably got tired of walking slowly in a huge crowd for what felt like forever (a theme that I’ve found across the marches I’ve attended — they’re boring and slow most of the time). Between the walking during the march and the walking tour of the as the Aventine Hill Rose Garden on the way to Sr. Cecilia’s convent, I really got my steps in that day.

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stop and smell the roses

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That fifth day of work with Srs. Sheila and Cecilia captured fairly accurately my experience at the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Commission in Rome. During my internship, what I learned to expect was only this: the unexpected. One day I’d be dutifully making my way down a list of 100+ countries to compile research on their most pressing social and environmental issues; the next, I’d be shaking hands with the UK Ambassador to the Holy See and introducing myself.

But that was simply the culture of the office. Though the uncertainty was, at once, exhilarating and daunting, it quickly became part of just a normal day. Trying to tackle a massive issue like refugees fleeing the war in South Sudan when we were just a team of a few people in a small office in Rome could feel like an insurmountable challenge. Yet even though coordinating volunteer activities when we were not physically there in the community to see the impact of their actions could feel trying, it was also enlightening.  In a field like diplomacy or international aid, it doesn’t matter that a challenge feels insurmountable: it must be treated as if it is not.

More so than any language barrier or social norm, this was the cultural value that stunned me the most about this Italian office: their tenacity and optimism despite the misfortunes they worked in. It stunned me, but it also stuck with me.

So while the American in me chuckled internally at the irony of attending a strike with my boss, the developing Italian in me understood that this too was important work – the kind of work that could not be accomplished from a desk chair. Sometimes, you must go out into the streets to try to make a change, even if you are unsure if anything will ever come of your actions. With my broad interest in law and social justice, this internship gave me some insight on what it takes for change towards social justice to actually occur.

Sometimes it takes stuffing envelopes, because those envelopes contain information that may inspire a brother or sister to not just hear “the cry of the earth” or “the cry of the poor” – but to actually tend to it. Sometimes it takes protesting in the streets among a swarm of passionate and hopeful teenagers, because their nonviolent demonstration must speak louder than politicians’ special interests. Sometimes it takes hammering away at the computer keyboard on a 40+ page document that summarizes the shortcomings of over a hundred governments, because we have to acknowledge what is broken in order to fix it.

But if I’ve learned anything at the JPIC, it’s that just as important as whatit takes is whom. Who is needed to tend to the cries of the earth and the poor, to organize the nonviolent demonstration, to fix what is broken?

Anyone. Anyone at all: from the teenager in a gas mask marching next to you, to your beaming boss behind you, to you, a small but idealistic intern who somehow wound up on strike on her fifth day of work.

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: Thrifted (it’s good for the environment!)

May 5, 2019 – Golden Days and Golden Domes (OOTD #498)

Ironically, these shots were actually taken at quite the opposite of “golden hour” — it was late morning, meaning that the sun was almost but not yet directly overhead. Aside from high noon lighting, late morning and early afternoon lighting are both some of my least-favorite to work with.

Luckily, these shots turned out great anyway! I owe that more to a pretty dress, a pretty background, pretty makeup, and pretty friends than the light, though. They go a long way, especially together.

As has become tradition among my friends and me, before the last week of school (and the associated final exams), we headed to the golden dome for a photoshoot. I’m not sure exactly how we got to doing this — or how much longer we’ll continue to do it — but since freshman year, we’ve commemorated the end of a year with a friendship photo session. We also did it at the end of last semester, around Christmastime.

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see you losers in 15 months

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Maybe we’re a bunch of self-obsessed young adults addicted to social media (I mean, I can’t speak for my friends, but I know that’s how I’d self-identify), but it’s nice to have some good group shots with your friends. Not only is it perfect for the obligatory end-of-the-year sentimental retrospect Instagram post, but it’s the sort of thing you can put into a picture frame or hang up on your photo board.

Are candid shots probably more authentic and a better representation of how you and your friends behave together on a daily basis? Sure. But a semi-staged photoshoot where you all get dressed up and recruit someone’s boyfriend to take your picture in front of iconic campus imagery is a good way to capture the group at its most poised — even if it’s not a very poised group.

So this is my last blog post of sophomore year! There’s one still to come that was taken in South Bend before I had fully moved out, but this is the last one from while classes were still going on. I didn’t bother with pictures during finals week, especially since I knew I already so behind with posting these things.

Thanks so much for sticking with me throughout this whole year — from ND’s undefeated football season to study abroad applications to Qatar to France to the Women’s March to the Polar Vortex. I can’t wait to share my summer adventures with you!

Up next: Rome, Italy!

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 PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com.


Dress: Francesca’s

 

April 5, 2019 – Qipao Kapow (OOTD #487)

Guess I’ve already given up on my Seinfeld-themed blog titles.

This will be a short post, as it’s actually a second outfit from a day that I’ve already posted about. If you want to read that post (please do!) go ahead and click here.

As it turns out, school dances don’t end with senior prom in high school. They keep going after you enter university, except people care a whole lot less and you don’t have to spend two months trying to find a dress because you have so many left over from high school that you can just wear one of those again.

You also don’t have to spend two months trying to find a date, or a friend group to take pictures with, or someone with a car who can drive you (who’s not your parents)…like I said, the whole thing is a lot less of a big deal than it was in high school. Plus, you can drink alcohol, which is basically the only thing that can make crawling out of your dorm room in shoes that pinch worth your time.

For this dance, my spring formal with my dorm, I opted to wear this blue Chinese qipao –a dress that you might recognize if you were a follower of my blog way back in 2017 when I first started writing here. It’s what I wore on a dinner cruise during my senior trip to New York City way back in 2017. That was literally just my ninth blog post — and almost exactly two years ago.

Here’s a pic from when I wore this qipao in New York two years ago, and is it just me, or do I basically look the same? I don’t know I was expecting when I compared the photos, but I was hoping to find that I’d become a lot prettier and more mature-looking in two years. I guess not.

I suppose I’m still just waiting on my growth spurt. And my glow-up. And just bscailly when I start looking like an adult woman instead of a twelve year-old boy.

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 PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com.


Dress: Some sketchy Chinese website online like five years ago

February 16, 2019 – Galentine’s Day (OOTD #456)

I’m glad Galentine’s Day has become a thing.

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come to me, children

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In case you’re unaware, Galentine’s Day is the trend where instead of (or in addition to!) a traditional date with a significant other, you go out with your friends. The cynic in me sees is as just another way for restaurants to get us to spend money on Valentine’s Day. The optimist in me appreciates that Valentine’s Day is now becoming more inclusive for people who aren’t in relationships.

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🍳 🥞 ☕️

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So the weekend after Valentine’s Day, my friends and I all piled into a car and headed out to a brunch place. Going out to eat when you’re a poor college student is always such an event, at least for those us who live in the middle of nowhere and don’t have a car. I imagine it’s rather different if you go to school in a city, where there are restaurants everywhere. When you go to school in South Bend, Indiana and there are restaurants nowhere, it’s a different thing.

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wax on, wax off

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I feel like I should mention that our Galentine’s Day actually included two guys as well — Dylan and Jackson, the boyfriends of two of my friends. Galentine’s Day should be for everyone, not just women. It’s like Friendsgiving, but the Valentine’s Day version.

Turns out, the brunch place we went to had some spectacular lighting, which made for some great photos, as you can see here.

And nothing says “Valentine’s Day” quite like an outfit that makes you look like a priest (bishop? cardinal? Sorry, I don’t know my Catholic hierarchy well) from the Spanish Inquisition!

I got this cape from a vintage shop near my home called Street Scene, and to be honest, I’m not convinced it wasn’t actually once owned by a member of the clergy. It looks eerily similar to some of the capes that bishops wear.

I’m not sure if there are rules about wearing old clergy clothes. Are they like American flags, which are supposed to be burned after they’re decommissioned? Do I need to wash it in holy water along with my Tide Pods? Leave me a comment below if you have advice.

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!


Cape: Vintage (thrifted — Street Scene Vintage)

Top: ASOS

 

January 19, 2019 – A Sign of the Times (OOTD #440)

And in that moment, I remembered why I wasn’t meant to be a design major.

Sometimes, I like to pretend to myself that in some alternate universe out there, there’s a Meilin who decided to go a more unconventional route and went to art school instead of a research university. I’m good at art. I could have gone to art school — I mean, I have friends who weren’t good at art who still went to art school, so it’s completely feasible that I could have gotten in somewhere. I ultimately chose not to go (or even to apply) because I like the idea of job security, and because I figured art would be something I could incorporate into my life without making it into my career.

While I’m happy with my choice to become a corporate sellout or whatever, I do wish Notre Dame had a better visual arts program, and I do sometimes regret not even applying for a design program.

Then things like this sign happen.

Okay, some background: the Friday after the start of classes, I went with a cohort of other Notre Dame students on a trip to Washington DC to attend the 2019 Women’s March. It was the first year that they’d gotten enough interest and enough money to organize a bus to go, and so, 4 AM Friday morning, I hauled myself and my suitcase to the bookstore to board a bus for the 12 hour journey from Chicago to DC. For those of you keeping track at home, that was the sixth weekend in a row of significant traveling — though thankfully, it wasn’t a flight. I didn’t need six weekends in a row of flying.

Anyway, when you go to a march, the fun part is making a cool sign to carry, and so I was determined to use my artistic skills to make something worthy of posting pictures on Instagram. I’d been thinking of this design for weeks leading up to the march, and I thought for sure it’d be brilliant.

So the idea was the make something that said “A Sign of the Times,” but with the G in “sign” turned into a female anatomical sign. It’d be clever on multiple levels — it’s a play on the fact that it’s literally a physical sign, that the Venus sign is a symbol for the female sex, and that the phrase “a sign of the times” implies change. It was going to be the next great feminist quip, people were going to print it on t-shirts at Forever21 — Susan B. Anthony can step aside.

Unfortunately, I misjudged the distance I needed to put in between “A “and “Sign,” and it ended up reading more like ASIgN. You know what “ASIgN” looks like? Asian. My sign ended up reading “Asian of the Times.”

That’s not what I was going for.

Thankfully though, I am Asian, so it didn’t look that strange when I was carrying it around. Can you imagine if I weren’t Asian, though? Like, if I were white and I was carrying a sign that read “Asian of the times?”

So why am I ranting about my failed sign-making endeavors in this blog, when I could be talking about the Women’s March itself, my time spent in DC, or my experience sleeping in a church basement with 50 other people? The truth is, the march itself wasn’t that interesting — I don’t know what I expected, but it was about three hours of just…walking slowly in the cold. I’m all for nonviolent social change, but apparently, it can be rather boring.

The other unfortunate bit was that Washington DC itself was pretty much dead when we were there due to the government shutdown. All of the museums and buildings were closed, so all you could do was walk around and see the monuments from a distance. I did get to see the White House and the Capitol Building from afar, but you couldn’t do much other than take pictures. And even then, I saw them at night, so my pictures weren’t that great.

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tag yourself i’m feminist dad

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I still really appreciate the time I spent on the trip. It was an opportunity to get off campus, and selfish as it may sound, that was probably what I liked the most.

I guess it didn’t take that long for me to get restless staying on campus after all. 


Coat: The North Face

Jacket: Ralph Lauren (thrifted, Goodwill)

Shirt: Banana Republic

Skirt: Abercrombie

Hat: Target