June 5, 2019 – Tourist Day (OOTD #512)

I think every trip to a new city over a week long needs a “tourist day.”

Of course, only if you have time for one. Not every travel experience is meant to be vacation, and that’s fine. But if, on your non-vacation travel experience, you have the time to take a “vacation day,” you should go for it.

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one step at a time

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At this point, I’d been in Rome for well over two weeks, and I had yet to see most of the major tourist sites. In fact, I’d seen more of Florence’s tourist sites than I had seen of Rome’s, the actual city where I was staying.

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roaming rome

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It’s hard to go out and see a city when you’re more there to work than to simply visit. You’re there for an extended period of time, and it’s not like any of the sightseeing destinations are going anywhere, so it’s easy to just convince yourself that you can put off exploring for another day. You have work and chores and responsibilities to deal with; your purpose for being in the city is not to see the city, as is the case when you’re just a tourist.

For example, I lived within five minutes walking distance of the Colosseum, but I never had the desire to see the inside of it. That’s not because I didn’t want to see it for its own sake —  I did — but I didn’t have the time to deal with the hassle of ticketing and crowds when I had work. I was usually too tired after work to try fighting off the tourists, and the weekends were so insane with swarms of people that even with extra time on my hands, it didn’t feel worth it.

And that’s why I believe giving yourself a designated “tourist day” is so important. Sometimes, you just have to push yourself to get out and see the world, even if you don’t feel like you have the time or energy. Imagine how much I would have regretted it if I had been in Rome for two months and I never saw the Colosseum, the Forum, Palatine Hill, the Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain.

But don’t worry — I did see all of those things! Rome has a deal where they offer entry to all of their historical sites for free for one day a month. In anticipation of this deal, I asked for the day off of work (and yes, I was honest with my bosses about the reason I was asking off), and I made it my mission to see as much of Rome as I could in the afternoon that I had.

IMG_1740.jpeg

At this point, I had finally established a small group of friends (my Firenze pals), and so I invited them to join me. It was probably only the first or second time in the two weeks I’d been there that I actually got to hang out with a group of people my age, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it. Up until that point, I’d pretty much been completely on my own — another factor that was keeping me back from going out and doing tourist things. That first one-third of my time in Rome was kind-of lonely.

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this is what dreams are made of 🎵

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My friends and I made it everywhere I was hoping to go except for the Pantheon. Spoiler alert: I never made it in the whole two months I was there. A friend told me it wasn’t super exciting, and so every time I told myself I was going to check it out after work, I ended up coming up with an excuse for why I was too tired to go, and that I’d just go tomorrow.

But eventually, I ran out of tomorrows, and the Pantheon remains for me unseen. I guess that’s one for the bucket list for the next time I visit.

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: H&M

Trousers: Thrifted (Salvation Army)

May 15, 2019 – Dilly Dilly Philly Philly (OOTD #501)

Controversial opinion, perhaps, but I love a long layover.

Many might bemoan a long wait time sitting in an airport until your next flight, but I’ve actually come to thrive on them. If it’s over 10 hours, I’ve found, I can leave the airport — especially in a city with good public transport — come back, and it’s like I had a little day-long trip before my main trip. A detour, if you will.

On my way to Rome, I had a nearly 12-hour layover in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, my second-favorite city in the US after New York. I left Lexington at 7:30 in the morning, arrived around 9, and I didn’t have to get my flight to Rome until 7 in the evening. I wasn’t about to wait around in the airport all day, so I grabbed my backpack, hunted down ground transport, and took the train downtown.

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what’s up, billy penn

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As it turns out, I also happen to have an uncle who lives in Philly (and another uncle, and some cousins, and basically my entire father’s side of the family), and so my Uncle Tim agreed to meet up with me for lunch.

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how enlightening

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Uncle Tim has actually popped up on this blog before — namely, on a day-trip to Bardstown, KY when he came to visit my family back home. He also gets a mention sometimes when I post pictures wearing work shirts with other people’s names on them, because he’s the one who gave me those shirts. He drives a hearse, has tattoos, and wears earrings. He’s a quirky dude, and he’s the best.

So Uncle Tim and I headed to the Reading Terminal Market for lunch, where I ordered a Philly Cheesesteak (the only place to buy one) and grabbed a Wawa smoothie to drink. From there, we headed to South Street, where we walked around the vintage and antique shops.

Like my father (his brother) and me, Uncle Tim could spend an eternity in antique shops. We both had a lot of fun wandering in and out of the various oddball stores on South Street. I was proud of myself — I didn’t buy anything, even though there were definitely a few pieces of vintage clothing that caught my eye. I just didn’t have enough storage space in my bags to take them with me all the way to Rome. I’m trying to whittle down my wardrobe, bit by bit.

All in all, it was a good layover, but it was only that — a layover. I wished I could stay longer and meet up with the rest of the family, but I had another plane to catch, so after an afternoon in the city, Uncle Tim brought me back the airport and we said our goodbyes.

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bye, usa

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Next stop: 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 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: H&M

Top: The LOFT

Leggings: The LOFT

March 13, 2019 – Pegasister (OOTD #470)

Pegasister (noun): Like a brony, but instead of a grown man who likes My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, it’s a grown woman.

Allow me to preface this post with this disclaimer — I do not consider myself a Pegasister. I watched the show a lot when I was younger, like middle school-high school age, but not so much anymore. I have never gone to a My Little Pony con, dressed up like a character, or written fan fiction.

That all said, it’s still a really cute show. They do a clever job of subverting a lot of tropes of stereotypically “feminine” shows, while still allowing the show to cater to a young female audience. As children’s programming goes, I think it’s really excellent. It’s the sort of thing I can put on in the background while I’m studying or exercising and just zone out.

Anyway, I bring it up because, of course, this outfit includes a My Little Pony shirt. It’s something cheap I found at Forever21 (or to be more specific, I found and then my parents purchased for me for Christmas). I like it because it plays into a cute 80s retro vibe, while still being a franchise that I genuinely like.

I’ll admit, I do own some clothes for franchises I’m not really that into, just because I like the aesthetic. I’ve got a Pink Floyd tank top despite only really only knowing a few songs, a Nintendo 64 sweater despite never played owned one (though I’ve played ports of N64 titles on other consoles, and Attack on Titan t-shirt despite having never finished the series. Call me a fake fan.

Like I said, though, while I’m not that into the series anymore, I do still like the franchise. It was a big part of my childhood, and to it I owe, in part, my continued interest in fashion. One of the main characters, Rarity, served as the stereotypical fashion-obsessed “girly-girl” of the group, but she was written in an empowering intelligent way. She was a small-business owner and designer, and her character arcs depicted some of the difficulties as a creator of trying to commodify creativity. It’s something that really stuck with me.

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!


Jacket: Adidas (thrifted, Goodwill)

Top: Forever21

Shorts: H&M

 

 

September 15, 2018 – Football in a Baseball Jersey (OOTD #376)

Not only have I got on a baseball jersey, but also a baseball hat — clearly, I don’t know my sports.

At least I got the team right. I love the Votre Père Complacent Scottish. Can’t for the life of me figure out why their logo is an interlocking ND, though….

This baseball top is once again an example of me getting something for cheaper by shopping in the children’s section of a store. It’s a little embarrassing, but I save money, so…I consider myself a winner here.

Notre Dame game day fashion is always fun for me. I like themed outfits, if you haven’t been able to tell, and so I like the challenge of trying to come up with new, creative ways to wear Notre Dame colors and logos. A lot of people just wear a generic t-shirt and jeans, but a lot of people also put in some legitimate effort to come up with some cool outfits.

It’s very different from Southern football games I’ve been to, where everyone dresses up, but in the same way they’d dress up for a day at the races or for Easter brunch. People here dress up too, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a casual dressed-up. The kind of dressed-up where you’re still in casual attire, but creative and fun casual attire.

Like I said, I love the challenge of it. How do I make myself stand out from a crowd of people all wearing the same blue, gold, and green colors?

Honestly, Notre Dame should just hurry up and hire me as their brand ambassador. I’m already clearly competent at distinguishing different sports uniforms. I’ll just show up to basketball games dressed for hockey and golf tournaments dressed for football, and I’m sure someone — Father Jenkins, the Leprechaun, maybe Touchdown Jesus himself — will notice.

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

Baseball tee: Notre Dame bookstore

Top: H&M

August 16, 2018 – Stereotypical College Partygoer (OOTD #348)

Welp, I caved and I did it: I bought a denim skirt.

While I don’t know if I can link you to a specific example, I know I have written about my disdain for the denim skirt trend before. It’s nothing against the denim skirt as a concept — in fact, I love the look of a denim miniskirt, and the first few times I saw someone wear one last year when the trend had just picked up steam, I was a huge fan. But that’s the problem — the trend picked up steam, and a lot of it. Too much of it.

It could also be the fact that I live on a college campus, and I’m surrounded by a bunch of 20-somehting females who want something cute (read: sexy) but simple to wear when they’re going out to parties. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; people can do what they want while wearing what they want. I just get tired of seeing the same outfits over and over again.

Here’s how to make an outfit for going out in if you’re a Notre Dame girl: combine a denim skirt, an off-the-shoulder top (a tube top if you’re feeling spicy), a lot of highlighter, and mix with a few Mike’s Hard Lemonades. As a standalone concept, that’s not bad — but every single ND girl seems to wear a similar thing every Friday/Saturday night.

Anyway, I finally caved though and bought myself a denim skirt. While I kind-of resent its overuse as a party staple, like I said, I do like it as a standalone piece. I found it at a local Salvation Army, and for the price, I couldn’t resist. My hope is that I’ll be able to wear it in a more creative way than just with an Urban Outfitters tube top…but we’ll see. No promises — I am a Notre Dame girl after all, and the peer pressure may be too much to resist.

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

Skirt: Thrifted

Top: H&M

Jacket: Hollister (fun fact: I got this on Black Friday all the way back when I was in middle school, and it still fits!)

July 28, 2018 – High on High Bridge (OOTD #337)

Look at me, back at it with the Kentucky adventures!

Today’s blog sees Amanda and me in another small Kentucky town, wandering around and trying to find something to do. We had had plans with another friend, but he canceled on us last second, and we had to go figure out what we would do without him. We had already gotten dressed and made ourselves look cute, so we had to actually go out.

We’d had some friends post some pictures at this park called High Bridge in Kentucky, so we decided to pop over there and give it a go. This is what we found.

The daredevil in me wanted to go out and climb onto the bridge and try to get cute pictures, but the practical human being in me who still fears death held me back. When I go, I want to go with flying colors, and I feel like “died while trying to get a good picture for the ‘Gram” would not look good on my death certificate.

Having exhausted the photography opportunities at High Bridge, we decided to drive back to Lexington — but not before happening upon another photography opportunity.

Honestly, I can’t even remember what prompted us to stop in this field. I think it was something about a sign that indicated there was a historical site somewhere down the gravel road. At any rate, we never made it far enough to find whatever historical site there was — we did find this field though, and this pretty sunset.

I’m a sucker for a good field, I don’t know — there’s just something alluring about a big open space under the sky. It’s the most stereotypically Kentucky sight out there, but I like it nonetheless. I complain about Kentucky a lot, but I think I complain about Indiana more. I’ll miss Lexington when I’m back in South Bend.

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

Top: H&M

Jacket: Thrifted

Jeans: American Eagle (thrifted)

July 9, 2018 – A Developing Building In A Developing Country (OOTD #326)

Hey look, I’m back!

Whoops, looks like I accidentally took a three-day hiatus from this whole daily blogging thing (again). It’s like I’m flawed or something.

Anyway, let’s jump right back into the Nepal adventures — it’s day nine in Nepal, and I’m back in Dhulikhel after a day trip to Kathmandu. Dhulikhel, for as different as it is from suburban America, is beginning to grow old after having been here for a over a week. It’s in Nepal, which is exciting and exotic, but it’s still a small town in Nepal. Small towns only have so much to do.

So here’s what Dhulikhel had for me — a temple, momo’s, and an unfinished building.

First up, the temple. It was…a temple. I’m not sure what else there is to say about it — sure it’s totally different from anything I get to see in my normal life at Notre Dame or in Kentucky, but at this point, I’d seen dozens of Nepali temples. With the exception of some of the bigger ones in Kathmandu, the smaller ones like this were beginning to run together.

The South Asian students with me were also not terribly excited by the temples either, on account of them being pretty used to seeing them all the time around there own home towns. I got a few photos, and then we moved on.

After walking aimlessly as we so often do during these afternoon walks in Nepal, we ended up coming across a restaurant in a field.

Does that sound weird? A restaurant in a field? Well, that’s what it was. It was off the road a little bit, and just sitting there by itself in a field, no other buildings around.

With such a strange location for a restaurant, we of course had to go up and order something. My friend, Haya, was craving french fries, and I was interested in trying momo’s, a Nepali dish similar to Chinese dumplings (spoiler alert: Chinese dumplings are way better).

While sitting at the table waiting on our food, my friend, Elsa, spotted an unfinished building sitting nearby the field that looked abandoned. With nothing else to do, we decided to explore.

There wasn’t really much to explore, in truth. The building appeared to have been begun, but never finished, so there was little to see except the foundation and framework of what it was to be. We got a nice view of the sunset from the second floor — but I’m pretty sure I’ve wound up with a pretty view of the sunset almost every day I’ve been in Nepal from the various locations I’ve ventured to. Pretty views are pretty much just the normal, everyday views here.

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

Top: The LOFT

Pants: H&M

July 3, 2018 – Dichotomous (OOTD #320)

There are two distinct outfits in this blog post, so allow me to tackle them one by one.

Outfit #1, the main outfit for today, was actually not one I had intended to pack. I was afraid the leather pants would be too warm for monsoon season Nepal — and I was kind of right. Even sitting around in an air conditioned resort, I found it to be a little uncomfortable.

Why did I pack it, then? Well, it’s a really cute outfit. It was so cute I even got a living, breathing male who was not my father to compliment it — not like, the way I looked in it, or anything of that nature, but the outfit itself. How often does that happen? I don’t think many guys outside of the fashion industry ever notice the composition of outfits.

The second reason why I brought it was because I needed to bring more clean clothes. I didn’t really have the ability to do much laundry while at the resort, so I decided to simply bring enough clothes to do me for the 21 days I’d be away. In other words, there will be a lot of laundry to do when I finally do get home.

It was just another normal day of sitting around and chatting about Islamic theology and modernity, so there’s not a lot to report on that front. What there is to report about is what I did after the session was over for the day, and that is where outfit #2 comes in.

Outfit #2 is basically just a rehash of an outfit from a few days back. In fact, it literally is just the same outfit, but minus the jacket. I knew I’d be going out and possibly getting sweaty and/or dirty, so rather than go out in the cute outfit I’d been wearing the majority of the day, I went digging in my dirty clothes pile and threw these together. If it’s already dirty, there’s no harm in getting it dirtier, right?

Anyway, after finishing up classes, a group of us decided to go out for a walk into town. Town? Is that the right word? We’re in Dhulikhel, which is about an hour outside of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Dhulikhel could perhaps best be described in American terms as a suburb of Kathmandu, as it’s a primarily residential area outside of a major city with some of its own shops and businesses, and yet, it’s so far from what I typically imagine a suburb to be like. Village seems to be best word to describe the collection homes that dot the side of the mountain (which I saw yesterday), town seems to be the best word to describe the feeling of the ‘’downtown’’ shopping district, and suburb seems to be the best word to describe the location of Dhulikhel in relation to Kathmandu. The point is, I don’t really know what Dhulikhel is, other than a relatively small place where I’ll be staying for the next to weeks.

There were six of us who decided to go out for this adventure: three Notre Dame students (including myself), and three Pakistani students. And thank goodness those three Pakistani guys were there, otherwise we probably would not have made it very far away from the hotel. None of the six of us could speak any Nepali, but the Pakistani guys could speak Urdu, which I guess is similar to Nepali, or otherwise the Nepali people could understand Urdu. Anyway, they were able to walk into shops and ask for directions around town, which was fabulous, because I doubt Citymapper would do me much good in Dhulikhel.

The instructions we were given by the locals was to head to the ‘’1000 steps temple,’’ which was about a 30 minute stroll away from the hotel. As the name suggests, it involved walking a lot of steps up to the top.

Was it actually 1000 steps? I’m not sure. We only made it up a couple hundred of them before we reached the giant golden Buddha. Giant gold Buddha was not the temple we had in mind to go to, but when you reach a giant gold Buddha in the forest, you’ve got to stop and see him. 

Only problem was, the gate was locked.

Apparently, the gates to gold Buddha closed at 5:30, and we arrived at 6. At this point, we split into two camps: those of us who wanted to try to get in, and those who wanted to go home. As the photos suggest, the first camp — the one I was a part of — won.

One of the guys with us managed to climb over the gate and unlock it from the inside, allowing us all to get in. And I’m sure glad he did, because when else am I going to get to see a giant gold Buddha statue in my life?

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

Outfit #1

Top: H&M

Outfit #2

Top: Vintage (thrifted)

Pants: Thrifted

July 1, 2018 – Jet Lagged (OOTD #318)

Oh dear, it looks like the jet lag has hit me like a…well, a jet.

My first night in Nepal, I had no trouble sleeping. After the long, stressful journey of 30 hours, I was ready to crash. The second night though, apparently, not so much.

It’s interesting because I remember having no trouble justing to the time difference in London — perhaps that was because I stayed up the entire plane ride, so that by the time I made it to Heathrow in the morning, and I was forced to stay up for another 8 hours, I was more than ready to sleep at night.

Here, though, I slept pretty easily throughout the plane ride, making it more difficult trying to adjust to the 9 hours and 45 minutes difference. Why 9 hours and 45 minutes? Apparently Nepal wanted to distinguish itself from India, so their clocks are 15 minutes off from India’s time. There’s your fun fact for the day.

Anyway, after a night of barely sleeping at all, I decided to get up at about 5 AM and just start my day. No point in just laying there in bed and feeling badly for myself for not being able to sleep, right?

That’s when these photos were taken, actually — in the wee hours of the morning before anyone else was up. Since I had nothing to do, I figured I’d prop up my phone and take some simple photos in the lounge area of the hotel. No one but a few housekeepers was around to judge me, so it made it pretty easy.

The rest of the day was spent in the conference. The first half was a lecture by a professor from Duke on feminism in Islamic texts and law, and the second half was  a guided discussion amongst the students on our thoughts about the lecture.

Not being a scholar of Islam or even a Muslim, it was a little difficult to think of things to stay during the discussion. The people at my table seemed interested to hear my perspective as a Christian American woman, but I’m not positive that what I ended up saying was really all that helpful. My purpose here is not to say anything wildly controversial or profound though, but just to add more dimension to the conversation, to provide another facet of the human experience. I hope I did that.

But even if I didn’t, there’s plenty more time to do so! I have 13 more days before the conference ends, so even if I was useless today, maybe tomorrow, I won’t be.

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

Jacket: H&M

Top: Vintaged (thrifted)

Pants: Thrifted

June 26, 2018 – Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? (OOTD #314)

Okay, but you feel me, right? I definitely look like I’m a muppet from Sesame Street in this outfit.

There’s something about the lime green and yellow combo that reminds me of Big Bird or Bernie or one of the various characters — I guess it’s something of a childlike color scheme, and that’s why it’s calling to mind thoughts of Sesame Street. The fact that I’m wearing basically a jumper with tights and loafers as well…should’ve just put my hair in pigtails and I would’ve had the preschooler look down, huh?

This was my last day before I departed for Nepal, which meant basically that I spent the entire time packing.

I have friends who are excellent at that — they make a list of everything they need, they start packing things weeks in advance, and by the night before they travel, they’re all set to go. Then there’s me.

I’m not the worst, I have to say. I do begin my packing like…a day or two before I leave. Still, I usually wind up frantically putting outfits together and filling travel bottles of shampoo very late at night before I have to go, trying to keep my eyes open and just generally regretting my life choices.

When I had to leave for college, I actually didn’t begin packing until about three days before I had to go — big mistake. Packing for college was probably one of the most stressful experiences of my last few years, and mostly because I left it to the absolute last second. It was also stressful because I was you know, packing for my freshman year of college and that conceptually was scary.

Leaving for Nepal on my own is also conceptually kind of scary. I’ve only traveled on my own domestically before; any international travel has always been with a friend or family. I’m going from Lexington to Chicago to Abu Dhabi to Kathmandu over the course of about 30 hours, and while Kathmandu is very exciting, going through security repeatedly and navigating terminals is not.

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!

Dress: Vintage (thrift)

Top: H&M

Leggings: AMIClubwear