July 2, 2018 – A Foggy Memory (OOTD #319)

I swear, there were mountains here yesterday.

I’ve seen a lot of fog in my life, but never like this. It’s so dense that you literally cannot see the giant green mountains all around but only the thick white curtain of mist — it’s a little disorienting. I feel like I’m in a video game with a bad draw distance.

Also, apparently these giant green mounds of earth that I’ve been referring to as “mountains” are not, to the Nepali locals, mountains, but rather, big hills. Apparently, it’s only a mountain if it’s capped with snow. I guess I can’t really argue with the locals, but to my sore knees that regret the hike I did down the “big hill,” it certainly feels more like a mountain.

After classes, a group of us decided to venture further down (what I’m going to call) the mountain and see what there was to see. Despite still struggling with jet lag and low-key wanting a nap (though I did get four hours the previous night instead of two! Yay!), the FOMO got the best of me and I decided to go. If the other Notre Dame students were going to go out and do some bonding, then I was too.

Unfortunately, the only shoes I brought for walking in were my running shoes, which are just fine for the relatively simple hiking I do in Kentucky, but apparently not fine for the Kathmandu Valley. While a lot of the trail is pretty easy, in parts where it’s rocky or particularly steep, I found myself having to grasp hold of whatever trees or plants were around in order to keep my balance. While there weren’t really any places where feared careening off the side of a cliff, I did fear falling in the wrong way and twisting my ankle.

While I suspect the views down the way would be even more spectacular on a clearer day, they were still pretty beautiful to my eyes, which have really only ever seen mountains in the form of Appalachia. Along the trail, there was not a whole lot to see — some houses, with local people doing housework like hanging up clothes to dry or weeding their garden, and some stray dogs. I mean, it was still leagues away from the suburban American neighborhoods I am used to seeing, but after the initial shock wears off, a hut is still just a hut, even if it is very different from the kind of homes I am familiar with.

Once again, though, we did not make it far down the side of the mountain before the sky started getting dark and it was time to go home. Despite the increased physical strain of the climb, I still found it easier going up. I’d much rather strain my leg muscles trying to maintain my stamina going up a hill than strain my brain trying to maintain my balance going down.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get to make it down to the village that’s supposedly at the bottom of this mountain; I just don’t think there’s enough time or enough daylight given the scheduling of the conference. I guess tomorrow, I’ll go up the mountain and into the city and see what there is to see there.

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!

Pants: The LOFT

Top: The tiny clothing section of my local Kroger

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

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Taking Photos in a Mall Starbucks

My friend, Jane, giggled at me the whole time I was taking the photos for today's blog.

I've gotten used to taking photos in public – you put on your sunglasses so you don't have to make eye contact with anyone, and then pretend no one's judging you. It was weird at first, and I used to purposefully avoid public places for my photos, but I'm immune to the embarrassment now.

So it's funny when I hang out with friends who aren't used to my constant photo taking because they usually look confused and awkward when I whip out my Canon in the middle of a restaurant and start taking pictures of my coffee. Which is funny, you know, since we teenagers have no problem taking photos with our phones to post to our Snapchat stories – but pull out a real camera, and *Heath Ledger voice* everybody loses their minds!

To relieve Jane of her embarrassment (and also to get to a spot with better lighting), I scooted over to an empty table a few feet away to snap my photos for my Saturday Musings post today.

I dunno, there's just something really cute about a nice flatlay with some sparkly things, coffee, and a plain white background, and it makes for a really lovely Instagram post to break up all the OOTD photos. It makes the uncomfortable stares in public places all worth it.

Plus, since I suffer no embarrassment anymore from public photo taking, it's funny to watch my friends cringe and look like they don't know what to do when I start arranging all of my accessories on a table and snapping pictures.

Anyway, that’s it for today! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com.

July 30, 2017 – Yay Adoption (OOTD #78)

Odd title, I know, but I mean it – yay for adoption!

On Sunday, my parents and I went out for lunch in celebration of Gotcha Day – the day my parents "got" me from China.

I don't believe I've mentioned this before, but I was adopted from Hunan, China when I was a few months old. I mean, I guess you probably could've figured that – it is a white dude who's in my Father's Day photos - but I haven't discussed it formally. Not that I personally think there's much to discuss; it's not like I remember anything about China or my birth parents, and I've always considered myself much more American than Chinese, or even Chinese-American.

So in general, my adopted-ness plays very little role in my everyday life. The exception of course is Gotcha Day, my family's little celebration of, basically, the fact that we are a family. We usually go out to eat, and my parents get me a little gift; it's not unlike a mini birthday party. My grandmother sometimes joins us too. It's just a nice little way for us to bond, and of course, a nice little excuse for us to eat out.

This year, we ate out at Bella Notte, one of my favorite restaurants in all of Lexington. I adore Italian, and this is probably the best Italian I've ever had outside of Little Italy in New York. Everything tastes so fresh and flavorful, the décor is stylish and charming, and I don't even feel badly about eating the pasta with heavy cream sauce – it's that good. My dad and I always get the family-size Penne Gorgonzola to share, and we can nearly finish it off.

After lunch, we went out and did some shopping for my dorm room. There wasn't a lot we could get, since I haven't seen my room yet and don't really know how much space I've got, but I did pick out some nice sheets and a duvet cover. I'll have to do a Saturday Musings + Coffee post about it sometime and show it all off to you guys; I'm definitely excited about it all!

I know this is kind of a short post, but I think I'm going to end it here. Thanks again to my parents for being super cool and also making it so that I didn't spend the rest of my life in a Chinese orphanage!

I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: Unknown (thrifted)

Pants: The LOFT

Scarf: American Eagle

July 29, 2017 – Anything For a Good Photo (OOTD #77)

You know, I only spent about 10 minutes at this farmer's market today.

My mother and I were on our way to Starbucks when we passed this dinky little farmer's market/nursery, and we had a few extra minutes so we decided to stop in.

It was cute, but there wasn't much going on – some plants, organic groceries, random homemade crafts. They had some natural Amish butter, which looked good, but it was like $12 for a pound, and I am much too poor for that.

The truth is, I didn't actually buy anything there, or really, even hang around for very long. But from the cute photos I got, you might think I spent hours marveling at the plants and sniffing the fresh tomatoes or whatever, but nope. Got my pictures and then went.

Writing for a fashion blog is weird that way – it's your goal to present the best version of your life so that people will marvel at you and think you're super cool, but your photos aren't necessarily a fair representation of a normal day. In the case of these farmer's market photos, I thought it'd be cute to look like I had a charming farmer's market outing, even though I really didn't and actually spent most of my day sitting in my dining room. Is that insincere?

I suppose not, because I'm disclosing it here. Besides, the farmer's market made for a really adorable background to my outfit photos, and my Instagram could use more of those.

In other news, I really love this scarf thing I'm wearing here. I say "scarf thing" – I have no clue what it would qualify as. It's thin like a scarf, but it wraps like a shawl and just generally gives me 2012 dystopian Hunger Games Catching Fire vibes . It makes any outfit instantly more edgy, like this Urban Outfitters dress that I bought 2 years ago before the shift dress was super trendy and had oversaturated the mall fashion boutiques. Still like it though, especially its pattern.

Looks like that’s it for today, so I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Dress: Urban Outfitters

Scarf thing: Altar'd State

 

 

July 25, 2017 – When You Forget Your Sunglasses (OOTD #74)

I've had a blog about forgetting a shirt, and now it looks like I've got one about forgetting my sunglasses.

You wouldn't think sunglasses would be as big of a deal as a shirt – I, as a female, cannot really go out without a shirt on, especially not to work. But for me, doing this fashion blog thing and taking photos of my outfit every day, sunglasses are a huge thing, sometimes being just as necessary as a a shirt.

Sunglasses obscure my eyes, which, for me, are my biggest problem when it comes to getting good smiling photographs. I'm Asian, so the plane of my face is rather flat, with my eyes being on the same level as my nose bridge and cheekbones, causing my eyelid creases to change shape depending on the day as they're not created by depth in my facial structure. This means that when I smile and my eyes scrunch up, my eyelids might also change shape, sometimes causing my eyes to look smaller or even lopsided.

That's where sunglasses come in to cover that all up and save the day. Plus, you can wear sunglasses to hide the fact that you have no eye makeup on, meaning they're great for a lazy soul like myself. Good sunglasses can even hide a few pimples on your forehead.

So anyway, I forgot my sunglasses, and I had done no makeup because I assumed my sunglasses would be covering up half of my face. I didn't really want to do my pictures without sunglasses, but I also didn't want to skip on doing pictures at all, since I still had a blog-worthy outfit (or as blog-worthy as a typical hardware store work outfit gets for me).

Luckily, in the car were my father's old sunglasses. I put them on and they were…less than flattering, but they did the job of covering my makeup-less face, and that's all I needed them to do.

In other news, I really need to have my hair redone. Look at those roots, haha! I'm trying to hold off because I want my color to look fresh for when I move off to college, but it's definitely getting a bit messy looking. I'd originally planned on doing it before I went off to London, but…welp, coming from a girl who wears sunglasses, not because she's concerned about damaging UV rays, but because it means she can wear less makeup, it wan't likely I was going to muster up the motivation, yeah?

Looks like that's it for today, so I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Shirt: Target

Necklace: Forever21

Sweater: The LOFT

 

Saturday Musings + Coffee – I Have 15 Minutes to Write This Blog

Wow, it's been quite a while since I've done one of these, huh?

Yes, while I wish I could keep up with these Saturday Musings posts a little better, I often have to go to work early on Saturday mornings, making writing these posts a little difficult. I don't exactly have the time to sit down, enjoy a nice cup of coffee, and reflect upon my life or whatever when I'm rushing out the door to beat the morning traffic, and I definitely don't have the time to write a blog about it.

Thankfully though, there are these wonderful things called afternoons, which come after mornings, and it's just as acceptable to enjoy coffee at 2:00pm as it is at 8:00am.

So that's what I did today. My mother and I were meeting with a former coworker at Starbucks to chat, so I thought I'd bring along my camera to take some artsy photos of my iced coffee and do one of these posts.

If it weren't the summer, and if it weren't too hot to drink a hot coffee, you can bet that's what I would be drinking. I'm not really into all of the cold coffee concoctions. I feel like to have a cold coffee, you really need for it to be sweet and dessert-like, but I'm not really into sweet coffees – I always take mine black. But sadly, I don't have the guts to drink a black cold-brew; I've tried and I'm sorry, it's just disgusting.

My compromise then is a lightly sweetened vanilla iced coffee – less caloric and less sweet than say, a frappuccino (not ashamed to say I Googled how to spell that), but still less disgusting than a plain cold brew. But like I said, at the end of the day, I like a hot, black coffee, and the fact that I cannot drink those on summer afternoons is just another reason why I am not a summer person.

And it looks like my fifteen minutes is nearly up! I started this blog at 4:45, and I have a friend coming at 5:00, so this post was something of a little exercise to see how long I could stay focused and write when I was under a time limit. It's not the longest, most in-depth post ever, but it's something, right?

Anyway, that’s it for today. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com.

July 23, 2017 – I Got Your Picture, I’m Coming With You (OOTD #73)

…dear Maria, count me in…

All Time Low is one of my favorite bands, so when I got to see them in concert on Sunday, you can say I was just a little hyped. I did my hair and makeup up all nice, took a few selfies, and then I hopped in the car with my friend Amanda (the same one I did London with), and prepared myself for the 3 hour-long drive up to Columbus, Ohio.

About an hour and a half into the drive, we hit our first issue – a traffic buildup just outside of Cincinnati. Thankfully, I was using Waze, which was able to give us another route around the the traffic, but we still lost about a half an hour. And we had to drive through Covington, Kentucky, one of the sketchiest places I've had the misfortune of driving through (it's right up there with Camden, New Jersey – my dad's hometown), where I glimpsed more shirtless old men than I have ever cared to have seen.

Anyway, we finally made it to the venue, Express Live, where we were greeted by a pleasant surprise – it was a pretty small venue! That's always a good thing for concerts because it means, in a free admission seating arrangement like we had, you're more likely to be able to get up close to the stage.

On the other hand, being a smaller venue, there was no kind of overhead coverage to protect the audience from the weather. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, but of course, it rained.And rained and rained and rained. It began right after the second opening act left the stage. Amanda and I had moved down into the pit and were standing there in the drizzle kicking ourselves over not bringing in our raincoats (and we couldn't go back and get them either – no re-entry) when the rain began to pick up, as it does in storms. We spent about 15 minutes running around, trying desperately to find some place where we could take shelter – there was literally nothing like, anywhere, not even a merch tent – before we finally found a bathroom that we could hide in.

And that's where we stood for the entirety of the third opening act, smushed up against the bodies of other soaking wet and miserable girls, shuffling around every once in a while when someone needed to get to the toilet, and listening to muffled sounds of the band through the brick.

Finally, about 40 minutes later, the rain let up. But by then my hair and makeup was pretty much ruined, so much so that I even considered not bothering to do photos today. I really loved my outfit though, so I forced Amanda to get some shots as quickly as she possibly could while trying to keep as much of the camera as possible under her rain poncho.It was all a very interesting experience, not unlike the adventure we had in the Atlanta airport (which, might I add, is abbreviated ATL – the same way as All Time Low…suspicious…). As for the All Time Low itself? They were great! Definitely a band I would go to see again, no question. Getting to hear songs I love like "Missing You" and "Weightless" in person was lovely and well-worth getting soaked just an hour prior.

Looks like that's it for today, so I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: Unknown (thrifted)

Shorts: Abercrombie

 

July 21, 2017 – Let’s Do The Time Warp Again (OOTD #72)

As promised from yesterday's blog, here's the blog post for Friday the 21st, posted a day after the blog for Saturday the 22nd due to technical difficulties and writer idiocy.
More on that here.
On Friday, my dad and I went out hiking to Red River Gorge, a beautiful canyon system in Central KY. We both got the day off from work and made it into something of a father-daughter thing. Actually, we'd initially planned on doing a canoeing trip on the Kentucky River, but that had to be canceled and rescheduled as there hadn't been enough rain in the week prior for the water levels to be high enough.
Hiking's pretty cool though, so no complaints from me there. I will always prefer to hike in the fall (pretty leaves, cooler temperatures, yada yada), but I admit, it wasn't bad at all. We left the house at like, 7:30 in the morning and got to the trails by 9 or 10, so it hadn't gotten blisteringly hot yet, and it was a cloudy day, so we didn't really have to deal with the sun beating down on us. Plus, for extra protection, we opted for a trail that was down in the canyon and surrounded by trees, so it was nice and shady.
My family and I went hiking a lot when I was a kid – Cumberland Falls, Red River Gorge, Gatlinburg – if it's in the Midwest/Southeast near Kentucky, I've probably been there. I used to absolutely hate it though – the bugs, the heat, the physical exertion – it wasn't really my style. I guess it's still not quite my style, as I still hate bugs and heat, but I do have a greater appreciation for the natural environment you get to experience when you hike.
Our trail led us to something called Whittleton Arch, a nice little rock formation about a mile and a half from the road. I, of course, took immediately to climbing it and posing on top of the rocks, letting my dad get some cool photos like this:
For real though, I like hanging out with my dad, and I wish I got to do it more. He's a pretty cool dude, and I'm not just saying that because he has the patience to take a decent chunk of the photos for this stupid blog, including the ones from this trip. I'll miss him when I go off to college, and that's what made our time together hiking so nice.

Want to read more about my Red River Gorge adventure, and how it affected my fashion choices for the next day? Part 2 of the epic saga is already up here!

Looks like that's it for today, so I’ll see you in the next one! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: Adidas (thrifted)

Top: Forever21

Shorts: Target

July 22, 2017 – Miguel’s Pizza Should Pay Me to Wear This (OOTD #71)

So I uh…messed up.

I'm writing this blog on my phone as I sit in a car on my way up to Cincinnati, meaning I'm using data rather than WiFi. That's really not a big deal by itself, except that it means I'm limiting to posting only the pictures I have stored locally here on my phone; I can't access anything I have stored on my camera or laptop, and I can't AirDrop anything to my phone without Internet.
Unfortunately, the photos for the blog that was supposed to go up today were taken on my dad's camera, which I've left at home. If I were an intelligent human, I would have uploaded them from the SD card to my laptop and AirDropped them to my phone so I could post them from here, but um…yeah, I didn't.
Luckily, I have the photos from Saturday on my phone, so I can write that blog post now and post Friday's blog tomorrow, you'll just have to bear with me as we travel forward and then back in time for these next few days.
Anyway, this outfit is fun because I got this shirt from a tiny, dive-like pizza joint in Red River Gorge, a canyon system with some beautiful hiking trails in Kentucky. My dad and I went on Friday (more on that tomorrow), and afterwards, we got pizza from Miguel's. We both adored the dinky but charming atmosphere, so we bought shirts with the logo on it because we're hipsters like that.
Anyway, on Saturday, I was so excited about my dumb hipster pizza shirt that I decided to wear it. With the black tie-dye going on, I was definitely getting some vintage rocker vibes, so I tried to emulate that in my outfit and hair.
I say that like my hair was intentional, and that I actually spent time on it, but in actuality, I just had my hair in braids when I went hiking and I was too lazy to take them out. Or uh…wash it.
But it's okay, because I wound up with these really lovely beach waves that photographed really nicely and blew in the wind dramatically.
Lazy day hair in a nutshell, right? Or…the good lazy day hair days, at least.
Shirt: Miguel's Pizza
Shorts: H&M
Arm band: Altar'd State