December 30, 2019 – Suburban Style (OOTD #594)

Being home again makes me realize how difficult it is to find good locations for photos when you’re not in a city.

Think about it — for the last six months, I’ve been traveling around from one city to another. This blog has almost become more of a travel blog than a fashion one at this point. I’ve been to Europe, South America, and the Middle East, and I’ve lived in both Washington, DC and Rome, Italy. There were pros and cons to each location, and nowhere was perfect (except arguably New York, which will always have a special place in my heart), but one thing you could say consistently with confidence was that there were always great locations for fashion photography..

December 2019 was the first time I’d been home for more than two weeks in basically a year and a half. I think the last time I was home for this long was winter break my freshman year. I’d forgotten how hard it was to find places to take pictures for my blog at home; a small suburb in Kentucky doesn’t quite compare to an ancient European city.

I have to be more creative when I’m at home. I can’t just go out and find a random pretty building to stand next to — all the buildings around are cookie-cutter brick houses. They’re not really worth photographing, and besides, it’d be kind of creepy if I used my neighbor’s house as a backdrop for my blog!

In the spring and fall, I like to get foliage and plantlife to incorporate color and variety. In the winter, I can’t really rely on those though — half of the time, I can’t even rely on the sun to be out.

I’ve found that I like this sort of “street scene” shot — I’ve done it before, and each time, it makes for a really cool set of photos, or at least, as cool as they can get for being taken in suburbia. I do what I can with what I have.

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 winter break 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!


Jacket: Express

Sweater: Thrift (Goodwill)

Trousers: Express

December 23, 2019 – Christmas Red (OOTD #593)

The first time I wore this dress for a blog post, I admitted that I didn’t know the right occasion to wear it.  I think I’ve finally discovered the right occasion: Christmas!

A few days before Christmas, my friend, Jane, came and visited from Louisville. I wanted something nice and festive to wear for our brunch out, but I didn’t want to just wear another Christmas sweater, like I do every year in the days right before Christmas. This dress, which had been sitting unworn in my closet since I first wore it back in April, ended up being the perfect choice.

I miss having my full wardrobe available to me whenever I want it. Over the last year and a half, I feel like I’ve had to move to a new location every three months or so. First I was at Notre Dame, then I was in Rome, then I was in DC,  then I was home. I haven’t had all of my clothes in one place since high school.

I know I’m capable of putting together diverse looks even when I have a limited selection of clothes, but nonetheless, I prefer to have my full wardrobe to choose from. I like being able to pull pieces from the back of my closet, things that I’ve almost forgotten that I owned. It’s easy to make outfits out of your favorite pieces; it’s a challenge to make outfits out of things that you wouldn’t normally be inclined to wear.

This dress is one of those pieces that I wouldn’t bring with me for one of my three-month short-term internship or school living arrangements. It’s not practical or wearable enough to be worth bringing when I have limited packing space. Wearing it at home, then, feels like a special treat — I know I won’t have a chance to wear it again for a few months at least, so I have to make the most out of the time I have with it.

Anyway, that was me being sentimental about a cheap dress that I barely wear. Up next time: crying about the old Ugg boots in the back of my closet that I haven’t worn since I was 14.

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 winter break 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!


Dress: Dokotoo

 

December 20, 2019 – Punk Goes Christmas (OOTD #591)

You know someone loves you when they agree they do something they hate with you.

My mother hates the mall at Christmastime. In general, she’s not really a mall person during the regular season because she doesn’t like the crowds — so you can imagine why she avoids them when they’re packed with last-minute Christmas shoppers.

But I do like the mall at Chirstmastime. I like crowds, to a certain extent — I don’t like being packed like sardines on a hot summer day on the subway, but most crowds, like concerts or busy streets or malls at Christmastime, I’m actually rather fond of. I think they’re energizing, and I like people-watching, I like thinking about where all of the people are going and what they’re doing with their lives.

A few days before Christmas, my mother agreed to take a Friday off from work to spend time with me and do some shopping. I had a few Christmas gifts still to pick up, as well as an Express gift card to spend for a collaboration. She wanted to spend time with me, so she was lovely enough to come along — and also to drive me, since I don’t have a car to go on my own.

Mothers are nice like that. She didn’t even mind being seen in public with me with my ripped jeans and fishnets. I really looked the part of a rebellious teenager (though I guess I’m two years removed from my teenage years) dragging her mom along with her to the mall.

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 winter break 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!


Jacket: Thrift

Turtleneck: Express

Jeans: Hot Topic

December 18, 2019 – Friendship is Magic (OOTD #590)

Not to be all sentimental, but the 2010 children’s series, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was truly worthy of its status as a cultural phenomenon.

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Oh, and my friends are cool too.

Every year after we’ve all finished with classes and exams, my friends and I have a tradition of going out to see all of the neighborhood Christmas lights in Lexington. It’s a really great way to catch up after we’ve all been spread out across the country (or sometimes, across the world) because it gives us a reason to just drive around, play music, and talk about how much the city’s changed since we were last there.

Despite all of the new housing developments and buildings that seem to be being constructed, one thing that never seems to change in Lexington is this “God Bless America” house. Every year, this one particular household with a lot of money and a lot of time puts up a National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation-worthy display of decorations. It’s one we’ve visited in the past — in fact, if you want to see the blog from 2019 when we visited the same house, you can check it out here. Look how short my hair was back then!

It’s always nice to have people I can return to back in Lexington to hang out with. We don’t get to see each other every single break (and I won’t be getting to see them for several months this spring, seeing as I’ll be studying abroad in Paris and not coming back to the States), but we make an effort to try to meet up — usually at a Waffle House — when we can. Each time, someone has a new story to tell, which means we can talk for hours without running out of things to say.

I love my friends on campus whom I get to say every day (or, I used to get to see every day — not so much anymore since I’ve decided to spend all of junior year off campus), but I think there’s something special about friends you only get to see once in a while. Since your time together is more limited, you tend to make the time you do have more significant.

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 winter break 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!


Jacket: A vintage shop in Budapest

Sweater: Talbot’s (thrifted, Goodwill)

Skirt: The LOFT (thrifted, Goodwill)

December 8, 2019 – And It Was All Yellow (OOTD #589)

Hey, have I told you about my favorite color yet?

If you couldn’t guess from literally everything about this outfit, it’s yellow. My favorite color is yellow.

Yellow is such a powerful color. It’s the least saturated of the primary colors, making it one of the most difficult to mix with (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to make a form of orange and wound up with tomato red because of how saturated red is), but it’s also the brightest. Yellow makes a statement.

I’m so glad yellow is in style again. I don’t know the last time in my life I owned this much yellow clothing; I used to hate it as a color. For a while, I thought I couldn’t wear it because I was Asian, and then I thought it was too bright and baby-ish for me as a teenager.

Now I realize the error of my ways, and I’m happy to wear as much yellow as possible to make up for all of those yeaKatrs of refusing to wear it. Do you think this outfit gets the point across?

After I got home from Washington DC, my family had several celebrations all in a row — the first, my birthday, which took place on November 1, and which I’d not been home for. Then, there was Thanksgiving, which I celebrated in Philadelphia with my uncles just one weekend before I flew back home to Kentucky.  Then, there was Christmas.

These photos are from the very first of our celebrations — my birthday. In DC, I went out to dinner with the other students from my program and then I went clubbing with one of my Berkeley roommates, but none of those are the same as just getting a nice Sunday lunch with my parents and grandmother.

For one, none of the people in DC gave me any gifts — and from my parents, I got this lovely Kate Spade tote bag with a map of New York City, which, guess what, has yellow accents!

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 winter break 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!


Dress: A boutique on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem

Bag: Kate Spade

 

 

REVIEW: Influenster Let’s Chill VoxBox (eos, Gold Bond Ultimate, and Eva NYC)

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

I’ve been on a roll with the Influenster VoxBoxes lately. I’ve gotten two in a row these last two months. I don’t think I’ve gotten that many back-to-back since I first signed up for the program.

This may be the last one for a while though. I’m not certain, but I think Influenster only ships to the US, UK, and Canada, and (spoiler alert) I’m going to be in Paris, France for the next fourth months as a part of a study abroad exchange program. In fact, I’m writing this from my Paris apartment in the 14e arrondissement, though the photos were taken while I was still in Kentucky.

I got two selection surveys for Influenster products the other day, but since I had to put my French address, I doubt I’ll be chosen for the campaigns. It’s a real shame — two of the campaigns I was eligible for were for Make Up For Ever and Laura Mercier products. Quel dommage. 

But enough about products I may or may not get in the coming months — what about the products I did get last month?

In my “Let’s Chill” VoxBox were three products: eos Super Cashmere Tinted Shea Lip Balm, Gold Bond Ultimate Radiance Renewal Oil-Infused Cream, and Eva NYC Mane Magic 10-in-1 Styling Mousse.

Up first for review — the tinted lip balm. Oh, eos. I remember when every little girl in middle school absolutely had to have one of those round lip balms in her Vera Bradley purse. The very first one I saw was my fifth grade best friend, Kitty’s. She was always super trendy and fashionable, and she seemed to have everything just before it broke into the mainstream. She was the first one I knew to start wearing those elastic waistband floral skirts from Hollister, the first one to buy Uggs, the first one to experiment with Silly Bandz, and the first one to buy an eos lip balm. Hers was the classic pomegranate raspberry flavor, and I knew after I saw her pull it out of her backpack that I had to get one as well.

The first one I got was a pale pink color, I think it may have been strawberry lemonade-flavored. I’m pretty sure I begged my mother to buy it for me at the grocery store when I saw it on a special display on the endcap. Not wanting to copy Kitty exactly, I opted for a different flavor so as to demonstrate how unique and independent I was.

For as trendy and cute as those lip balms were, though, they weren’t all that great at actually moisturizing your lips. I remember they’d get dirty and stained if you had even a touch of lip color on, and they had a tendency to rub the delicate upper layer of your lips off if you weren’t gentle enough with application. Honestly, Chapstick was better.

And honestly, with this new 2020 iteration of eos, I still think Chapstick is better. Even now, ten years later, I still can’t resist the cute egg-shaped design and the way it rests in the palm of my had like a little round polished stone, but the lip product inside isn’t nearly as exciting. I still have the issue with it being too hard and just tearing up the upper layer of skin on my lips, and while I like the tinted variety, the color is barely noticeable. Lip balms should be soft and melt into your lips; this one is almost like an exfoliator.

Speaking of being moisturizing, the Gold Bond Ultimate Radiance Renewal Oil-Infused Cream is just that. It’s super thick, but for the winter when my skin is rather dry, that’s just what I like. Honestly, I don’t have any major complaints about this one. It’s a perfectly good lotion, but I’m not picky about lotion.

The bottle is a little weird, I’ll admit — it’s almost like a shampoo bottle, you have to shake it upside down in order for it to come out, and with how thick it is, that’s easier said than done. I think a pump would have been much better. Also, the scent is very strong. The moment I put it on, my parents both asked what smelled like tropical fruit. If you like tropical fruit, great — if not, you may want to stay away.

Lastly: the Eva NYC hair mousse. This product was something of an odd one for me to review. I honestly just don’t use hair mousse…ever. I had a phase there for a while (again, in middle school) where I’d wash and blow out my hair every morning in an attempt to create those texturized beach waves that were super popular in 2013, and I’d use it then, but I just don’t have time for that sort of thing anymore. Plus, with my bleach-damaged hair, I don’t really like to use heat styling products at all, and so doing a blow-out is out of the question.

How do you use mousse without using a blow dryer as well, though? That’s the question. I ended up running it through my hair after a shower and then putting it in a braid to dry.

Then I waited 36 hours for it to dry.

That’s not an exaggeration — it really takes my hair that long to dry properly when I try to braid it after it’s wet. I think it has to do with the bleach again — something about the pores becoming more receptive to holding water after it’s been chemically treated, and so it stays wet for longer.

One my hair finally dried, though, I liked the result. It gave me a nice, naturally wavy look, which is something I’ve never been able to achieve with an iron. The waves weren’t crunchy at all (though a little bit dry), and they lasted for the day. I’m not certain it was worth 36 hours of waiting for me, but if you have the kind of hair that you can braid at night, sleep in, and wake up with beautiful (not soaking wet) waves in the morning, maybe you could try this mousse for a little extra staying power and volume.

Have you tried these products? Or do you have any suggestions for your favorite hair, lip, or skincare products? Let me know your thoughts below!


That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life. 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!

REVIEW: NYX Dazed and Diffused Blurring Lipstick in Roller Disco

Influenster seems to love sending me products that are almost-but-not-quite right for me.

I mean, I love getting free stuff. I will never deny free stuff, especially when they’re makeup and beauty products. But sometimes, I just have to scratch my head: like, purple hair dye? Bar soap? I have nothing against purple hair dye and bar soap, but what about this blog makes you think ah, this girl could really use some purple hair dye and bar soap?

This time, Influenster decided to send me a purple lipstick from NYX’s Dazed and Diffused line. Everything else aside, I love that name — I kept calling it “dazed and confused” in my head because obviously, that’s the typical expression, and I love that it’s it goes an extra step to make a play a well-known phrase. It subverts expectations, or whatever.

In all other aspects, though, this product pretty much just meets basic expectations for a lipstick. It doesn’t subvert them in any way — good or bad. It’s an average lipstick.

The one part that attempts to be different from an average lipstick — the brush on the opposite end of the stick, which you’re meant to use to “diffuse” the lipstick to get a blurred look — is literally just a brush. I thought maybe it’d be one of those click-pen brushes that would dispense lipgloss or lip balm or something — something that would actually help to blur the lipstick — but no, it’s just a brush. I mean, I might as well just use my fingers to blend it out at that point, right?

As for the lippie itself, it’s okay. I don’t dislike this product. It’s got a nice, velvety texture and it lasts pretty well through a day. I don’t personally see the need for the brush attachment — seems a little gimmicky to me — but as a lipstick pencil, it’s decent.

My primary issue is with the color — it’s just too blue of a purple for me. I could see where someone with lighter or darker skin than mine (a light beige with cool undertones in the winter — not super pale but not particularly tan either) could pull it off, but I don’t feel like I can, especially for a product that’s meant to be blended until it’s faded. For me, I would need something much darker, like a dark purple or pink or red, in order for the diffused effect to actually be apparent. Otherwise, it just looks like a typical Barbie pink lipstick. And a somewhat dry one at that.

Have you tried this product? Or do you have any suggestions for your favorite lipsticks? Let me know your thoughts below!


That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life. 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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Outfit 1: Tomato

Top: H&M

Skirt: Forever21

Outfit 2: Dragon lady

Top: Unknown

Skirt: The LOFT

Outfit 3: Hot dog saleswoman

Jacket: Vintage (thrifted, Foxhouse Vintage)

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: A street vendor in Nepal

August 18, 2019 – Fair Weather Friends (OOTD #551)

Ironically, this post features neither “fair weather” nor any “friends.” It does have kind-of  gross, muggy late-August Kentucky weather and my family, though.

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I consider myself something of an expert in overcoming jet lag — I haven’t struggled with it really since my 2018 trip to Nepal, and that was over a year ago. Perhaps it stems from being a college student and never having a regular sleep schedule to begin with and ignoring my circadian rhythms on the daily.

My trick is to try as much as possible to use my time on the plane ride to get myself into the wake-sleep schedule of whatever my destination is. If I arrive in the morning, I try to stay awake the day/night before so I can sleep on the plane. If I’m arriving in the evening, I try to nap before the plane ride so I can then stay awake for the duration of the plane. The former is typically the easier option — I’m normally stressed before plane rides, so once I’ve finally made it onto the plane, I’m able to relax and get some sleep.

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After I’ve arrived at my destination, it’s then imperative to try to stay awake for the duration of the next full day. This is hard, especially when you’re home alone with nothing to do because there’s nothing to stop you from just crawling back into bed for your fourth nap of the day. The solution, then, is to go out and do something with friends.

Since I don’t have any of those (contrary to what this blog title might suggestion), I went out with my family to a local art fair — one of my favorite summer outing opportunities. I’m typically not big into summer-themed activities, but I must admit I love a good art fair.

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!


Top: Akira (thrift, my dorm room’s laundry room)

Skirt: A Pull and Bear in Zagreb

July 31, 2019 – Off to the Races (OOTD #537)

Disclaimer: This post contains products that were received complimentary from DiscountGlasses.com. All opinions are my own.


Sometimes, I happen upon clothing in the strangest places.

Case in point: I came across these racing silks (the jacket jockeys wear when racing horses) in a bargain bin of a leather goods store’s going-out-of-business sale.

Apparently, they’d been used as a part of store decorations and promotional material during spring meets (aka, around the time of the Kentucky Derby). They also had various Christmas and Halloween decorations in the pile. With the store going out of business, there was no reason for them to keep their horse season decorations, and so they threw them in the bin to get rid of.

I of course wasn’t really in the hunt for racing silks when I entered the leather goods shop — I was looking for leather goods (specifically, for a wallet to replace the one I lost whilst in Rome). I found the wallet first, and as I was waiting for my dad to finish looking around, I came across their bargain bin holiday decorations.

I couldn’t resist the jacket, even though I admit I don’t really need more jackets. It’s just such a fun yet unobtrusive was to represent my Kentucky heritage in fashion. Who needs one of those t-shirts that says “y’all” inside the silhouette of Kentucky when you can have racing silks?

Side note: these are the exact same brand and model of glasses that I lost in France after a Tinder date gone-awry! Long story short, I had just gotten this new pair of glasses from DiscountGlasses.com as a part of a sponsorship, and so I brought them with me on my trip to Vichy, France right after Christmas. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to bring them back from my trip to Vichy, France, as I somehow lost them while I was on a walk in a park with a guy named Axel whom I’d met through Tinder.

I liked them so much that I decided to order a replacement pair. They’re the Westend Argyle Park design, and you can check them out here on DiscountGlasses.com’s website. Maybe you’d also like to bring them with you on your next trip to France.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life back home 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: Thrifted (a local leather goods store)

Top: H&M

Shorts: American Eagle

Glasses: DiscountGlasses.com (Westend Argyle Park)