Saturday Musings + Coffee – Gung Hay Fat Choy

It was surprisingly difficult to find out the best way to say “happy Chinese New Year” in Chinese.

First, you have to sort through the different spellings in Mandarin and Cantonese, and then you have to figure out what’s the most appropriate way of saying “happy new year,” depending on whether you want to wish someone prosperity or good luck or any other number of well-wishes.

I opted for “gung hay fat choy” for this blog post’s title because I figured that would be what was what most Americans would know, but I went for a more “authentically Chinese” 新年快乐 (meaning literally “happy new year”) for my Instagram post.

Back home, my parents and I would always celebrate my heritage by going out to eat at a Chinese restaurant (and an authentic one, at that – none of that take out Panda Express stuff), but here, there wasn’t even really anything to do. They didn’t even have any Chinese food offered at the dining hall, which I thought was pretty sad considering they’d served cajun food just a few days ago on Mardi Gras.

Granted, it is lenten season, which, seeing as this is Catholic School ™, is something that is taken very seriously, to the point that they don’t serve any meat on Fridays at all. It sucks.

There’s a small celebration going on in the ballroom of the student center tomorrow, which I’m definitely going to try to go to, but somehow I doubt it’s going to be a huge deal. Maybe I’ll at least get some good fried rice out of it – it’s not Peking Duck, but it’s better than nothing.

Thanks for reading, and 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!

REVIEW: Clairol Color Crave Semi-Permanent Hair Color in Orchid

To read part one of my Clairol Color Crave review, click here!

Welp, I’ve gone and done it – I’ve dyed my hair purple.

My best friend has declared that I look like a high school band kid, but she usually has some complaint to make whenever I change my hair. I think if it were up to her, I would have maintained the platinum blonde hair, but with the texture of my non-bleach-damaged hair forever. Wouldn’t that be nice.

The reality is that I can’t be spending hundreds of dollars a month to have my hair chemically altered every month, so I have to make do with what I have. What I had was a short, slowly-growing-out brunette pixie cut that left me feeling a bit unsatisfied with how average it was. What I wanted was something practical and affordable that could change up my hair a little and remedy my sense of monotony.

That’s where Clairol comes in. In my latest Influenster VoxBox, I was sent their Semi-Permeant Hair Color in Orchid. While I hadn’t necessarily been thinking of dyeing my hair purple beforehand, I decided to go for it when the opportunity arose.

I have a lot of experience (well, not A LOT – not as much as some people, but more I think than the average 19 year-old) with various hair dyes. I started by getting my first set of highlights way back in sixth grade, before progressing to all-over color my freshman year of high school, then bleach blonde by junior year, then a semi-permanent grey and finally a brunette pixie cut just this year. My hair’s been every shade of brown under the sun, as well as jet black, blonde, platinum, grey, orange (on accident), and now, purple.

The first thing I noticed when I openeed the box was that there was nothing to mix – just the tube of dye. I don’t know if I’ve ever had any hair color products were no mixing was needed, so that was neat. In addition, the kit came with two pairs of protective gloves and a small brush.

As application goes, it was as easy as it gets – just squeeze the purple goop out of the tube, apply, and then rinse out. I guess it also helps that my hair is shorter now that it’s ever been, so I had no worries about making sure I got all my hair covered. I ended up using the whole bottle, though I probably didn’t really need to, with hair as short as mine. If you have long hair, I’d definitely buy two.

The directions said to leave the product in for 20 minutes, or 30 for a bolder look. Given the darkness of my hair (the root growth that is), I opted for 30 minutes.

To be honest, I probably could have left in in for shorter. The color didn’t really show up in my dark hair, and it showed up too dark in my bleached hair. Not that I really expected it to make much of a difference in my dark hair, because so little ever does, but I was hopeful for a little bit of a purple tinge.

(Me after applying and rinsing out for the first time)

That brings me to my biggest complaint about this product – it didn’t really come out as the same color on the box, at least for me. I think that’s partially due to the fact that part of my hair is bleached, which explains just how vibrant it came out, but even so, I don’t even think the color I got is even close to the color on the box. The girl on the box has a medium-tone red purple, while I what I got was a very dark (almost black!) blue purple.

On the plus side, I don’t mind a blue purple – it’s just not really what’s advertised here. If you have bleached hair and you use this product, I would definitely suggest leaving it in for much shorter than 30 minutes, maybe even 15, if you’re aiming for the orchid shade on the box. Another plus is that after three washes (one week approximately), this stuff is still just as vibrant as it was when I first put it in. It’s a semi-permanent dye, which means it should wash out in a few weeks, but I’m surprised it hasn’t at least started to fade for me.

Summary:

Pros:

  • Vibrant color payoff
  • Easy application
  • No mixing required
  • No fading (within first week)

Cons:

  • Color is more blue-toned than what box shows
  • Color comes out much darker on bleached hair
  • Color doesn’t show up at all on my dark hair

In the end, I like my purple hair. It’s not quite the medium lavender I was hoping for, but regardless, I’m happy with what I got. It’s more exciting than the brunette I had before, and that’s all I was really looking to get out of it. I would definitely recommend it for the easy application and vibrant color payoff, but I would just be careful with how long you leave it on in lightened hair, and don’t expect to get the same color as the girl on the box unless your hair is naturally her hair color to begin with. As for lasting power, it’s only my first week with this color, but it hasn’t yet faded, which seems to be a good sign.

Have you tried the Clairol Color Crave Semi-Permenant Collection? Or any other kind of semi-permanent dye? Let me know your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading, and 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!

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

Saturday Musings + Coffee – I’m A Potato

It’s rare that I have a day where I am as useless as this.

It started out very well, actually. I got up at 8AM, did some really good work for my job in the athletics communications department at school, and cleaned up my desk. I thought I was going to have a really productive day.

Then, I made a fatal mistake – I decided to go back to bed for a short “nap.” That short nap turned into a few hours, and I was in bed until 1:30.

Okay, not the worst, right? I could still salvage the day by focusing and getting some good work done in the remaining hours.

I didn’t, of course.

I did go for a run, write a blog, and write a bit in my planner, but it’s 6:30 now, and that’s all I’ve done. I have been about as hardworking today as a potato, and I am very much not proud of myself. I’m hoping I can turn things around a bit this evening and actually do some reading for my peace studies and history class, some laundry, and maybe my sketchbook assignments for drawing.

Or I could just go to bed early and pray that maybe tomorrow a wave of productivity hits me. Or if not a wave of productivity, at least some anxiety that class starts again tomorrow to force me to actually get some work done.

Thanks for reading, and 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!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Go Iggles

Actually, it’s tea. Blueberry pomegranate açaí tea, to be exact. I didn’t really feel like coffee today, but I knew I still needed some pictures with me and a mug for this post, so I made some tea instead.

These last few nights, I’ve been hard at work playing with my hair. You know how I was discussing getting tired of my new short, brown hair a few weeks back? That sensation never really left. It’s annoying to style, I have to put more effort into making my makeup and outfits look feminine, and it’s beginning to grow out, which in itself, is not problematic, as I want to get my hair long again, but it’s growing out in a kind-of awkward way.

So when Influenster offered me my first VoxBox with some Clairol hair color products to review, I jumped on the chance. A haircut likely won’t solve my woes, but perhaps a new, more exciting color than light brown will. Keep an eye out for a review of said products on this blog coming soon!

In other news, I’m getting temporarily kicked out of my dorm room tonight so one of my roommates can have some “friends over.” Normally, that might thoroughly annoy me, but seeing as I’ve spent pretty much all day cooped up in my room distractedly doing homework, it should actually be nice to be forced to go outside for a little. I’m thinking of headed to the haunted art building, Riley, to finish up my still life. Then, when my roommate’s party is over, I’ll come back and play with my hair some more.

In other other news, the Super Bowl is tomorrow! For the first time in my lifetime, my Philadelphia Eagles are actually playing, so I’m fairly excited. My dorm is having a watch party with typical game day food, which, while not as good as my mother’s Super Bowl party cooking, should still be a nice change from dining hall food. That’s part of the reason why I’ve been so eager to get my work done tonight rather than tomorrow – I want to give the television my full attention when the Eagles win their first Super Bowl!

Go Iggles!

Thanks for reading, and 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!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – That iPhone Depth Effect

Look, I’m no photographer, but I like to think that my new phone makes me look something like one.

No, this isn’t a sponsored post – though hey, Apple, if you’d like to share some of your massive wealth with me, that’d be neat – I just really legitimately enjoy the camera feature on my iPhone X.

Granted, I never had the iPhone 7, so the jump in technology from 6 to X was more dramatic, but I think regardless I would have noticed the shift in quality. This phone just takes some nice photos – and notice how I said the phone takes nice photos, not me. I know it’s not my artistic vision or technical skill that made these shots look neat.

I’ve actually switched my OOTD photos for this blog from all on my old Canon camera to my new phone, and honestly, I think my new phone does a better job.

I brought it along with me to some concerts I’ve attended recently at my school, including The Wombats (who were truly fantastic, and whom I didn’t realize how much I appreciated until I saw them live) and Max Schneider (whom I didn’t know of before the show but whom I am now interested in), and I’ve managed to capture some fun videos for my Snapchat story. I’d add them here but like…I don’t think you care to see my shaky cam 10 second video clips of college kids screaming what, if you concentrate, sounds like lyrics.

I love a good concert – my summer shenanigans seeing Train, Cage the Elephant, and All Time Low are testaments to that. I’m hoping to see Fall Out Boy next fall, maybe the Wombats again this summer, and maybe hit up Warped Tour for its final run depending on who they get to perform. I’ve been getting spoiled with all of these free shows on campus; I’m going to hope I get a better summer job than Home Depot again if I expect to pay for all of this.

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Basic Invite Stationery Review

A long time ago, back before I had my own laptop (and actually, probably before my family even had a home computer – just my mother’s work laptop that she would bring home on the weekends sometimes) I was really into writing.

Okay, that was a lousy way of wording things – I’m still into writing, it’s not like that’s changed. I mean, what am I doing here other than writing (though maybe not very well, as evidenced by that last confusing sentence)? But back then, I was into…handwriting? Or rather, writing things out by hand?

I don’t know if this is true for kids today, since it seems like they’ve all got their first iPhone by 6 and are on Instagram by 7, but way back when (and by that I mean like 10 years ago), typing was a rarity for an elementary school kid. I remember having to take typing lessons in the computer lab to learn how to position my fingers correctly and get my WPM up, but that was about all we ever did. There were few typed assignments, and we rarely had computers in class.

Handwriting was the only kind of writing a kid did – and I remember really loving it. I think it probably had to do with that it was a relatively novel thing to me, having only learned to write at all a few grades ago, after all. I had really lousy handwriting – my third grade teacher, if I remember, rated it as “poor” once on a report card – but that didn’t matter to me.

I like to think my handwriting’s gotten better since then, even though I don’t do it as much as I used to, especially since I’ve entered college and just about all my assignments are typed in my computer.

But I want to do it more. Noticing this recent decrease in handwritten writing, I decided to order some cute stationery samples – some thank you cards, stickers, notes – to test the waters and see if maybe by getting supplies, I’ll convince myself to write more. I figure if my writing supplies are nice, maybe I’ll be more motivated to write, you know?

The website I went through was called Basic Invite, and I must say, I’m very satisfied with my experience. What’s great about this particular brand was the sheer about of options there were – options for different kids of stationery (wedding invitations, children’s party invitations, thank you cards, etc.), different kinds of paper, colors, you name it. Along with the vast customization features that allow you to create invitations that are perfectly tailored to your needs, I was equally impressed with the service I was provided. I was emailed when my order was completed, when my samples were queued for print, when they were being shipped out, and when they had a delivery date estimation for me. Everything arrived neatly packaged, undamaged, and ready for use.

Will these new supplies actually encourage me to write more? We’ll see. One of my professors has already specifically stated she doesn’t allow computers to be used in her class, so that’ll be a good motivation for me to work on that. I’ll have all my different colored pens, my stickers, my stationery – I’ll be so organized I may even forget to pay attention to the lecture.

Basic Invite is currently running a promotion for 15% off with coupon code 15FF51, so I would definitely recommend giving them a look if you’ve got any stationery needs. Or, if you’re like me, and you don’t really know if you have stationery needs or not, but want to order some samples to test them out, Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before placing their final order!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life here at Notre Dame. 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!

Disclaimer: This post includes products that were sent complimentary to review and affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

January 15, 2018 – Amelia Earhart, The Sequel (OOTD #202)

So this was a thing that happened.

A little context: my mother has a friend who’s a big Notre Dame basketball fan, actually so much so that he used to play for the team. He was headed up to Notre Dame over the weekend for the game Saturday against North Carolina, and he offered me a ride back with him.

What was fun,  though, was that he offered me a ride in an airplane. And not just a normal commercial plane – a private one, flown by his friend, a pilot.

Due to the snowy weather, our basketball fan friend decided not to go on Saturday, but he still very kindly offered to allow me to fly with his pilot friend up to South Bend on Sunday, just in time for the start of classes.

I’ve never flown in a private plane before – though I expect not many people can say they have. I did once get upgraded to first class on an international flight to London, but that’s as lavish as it’s ever gotten. I’m usually just lucky if I don’t get called out of like at the TSA security check for something stupid like having my phone in my pocket.

In many ways, the private flying experience was much nicer than flying commercially – no lines to wait in, no security checks, no accidentally going over the weight limit for your bags and having to frantically repack them in the airport. It also got me there much faster, as I didn’t have to fly to Chicago and then catch the several hour-long bus back to school. Going directly, I got from home in Lexington to campus in South Bend in like two hours.

I wouldn’t necessarily say it was super comfortable though. It was a very small plane, and with my parents and bags along for the ride, it ended up being pretty cramped. There was also no in-flight entertainment, bags of peanuts, or WiFi – it was much like a car ride.

We did get some really lovely views of the passing landscapes. It was all white and snowy, and at some point (though I don’t really know when), it transitioned from the hills of Kentucky to the flat farmlands of Indiana, which was interesting to see.

It was definitely bittersweet when we landed in South Bend because I expect I’ll never be able to afford to fly privately again.

Unless, of course, I somehow wind up fabulously rich and famous – which I suppose could still happen. 19 years and it hasn’t yet, but I still have time. I think?

Thanks for reading, and 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: Altar’d State

Leggings: The LOFT

Boots: LL Bean

Review: Alya Skin Australian Pink Clay Mask

It’s been a long day.

And by a long day, I mean it’s actually been quite a nice day – it’s just had a lot of things to do in it. I started out frantically finishing up packing to head back to school before flying from Lexington to South Bend – in a private plane I might add, but more on that when I post the OOTD from today later this week – and finally making it back to school by early evening in time to get dinner with my friends and then unpack.

It’s days like these when I like to pamper myself a little – you know, to reward myself on a job well done of not messing anything up horrifically and actually getting a fair amount of productive “adulting” in. Those days don’t come by often.

Recently, my friends at Alya Skin sent me their Australian Pink Clay Mask to review, so it seemed like the perfect time to crack it open and give it a shot.

The first thing I noticed about the product was its nice packaging – a simple matte pink box, inside of which was a simple pink jar. Was it anything spectacular or artistic? No, but it was very fashionable, like something I wouldn’t mind having sat out on my bathroom counter. Minimalistic.

The mask itself was very standard mud mask fair – apply to cleansed skin, let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse off with a damp cloth.

Alya Skin claims that their Australian Pink Clay mask helps with removing pigmentation clusters from skin’s surface, stimulating regeneration of skin cells, and drawing out and removing pollutants and toxins from skin. Did it live up to those claims?

(After application: no face makeup, some eye makeup)

To be honest, I’m not sure. I can say, though, that after one use, my skin felt smoother, softer, and more refreshed. I’m no facial mask expert – I’m don’t understand the chemistry of skin or the science behind skin care  – but I can speak to my own experience, and my experience was positive. I liked the rose scent, I liked the pearly pink texture, I liked that the product is vegan, gluten free, and not tested on animals.

(After application: full makeup)

In the end, I got everything I was looking for out of the Alya Skin Australian Pink Clay mask – some relaxation, a calming scent, and the satisfaction of knowing I was doing something good for my skin after having fallen asleep with makeup on a few too many times over winter break. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a simple way to pamper themselves every now and then, and to anyone looking for a quick way to even out their skin’s texture and tone.

You can check out the product over on Alya Skin’s website here, if it looks like something you might be interested in purchasing. Use code lensembledujour for 10% off at checkout!

Disclaimer: This post includes products that were sent complimentary to review and affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life here at Notre Dame. 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!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Compose Yourself

Have I ranted about how difficult flatlays are yet?

What? I have? And they’re not actually that difficult, considering all it takes is for me to gather up a bunch of knick knacks and then photograph them in a pretty composition on top of a white bedsheet, so I should probably stop complaining about stupid, meaningless problems?

Sometimes I feel like these blog posts, especially on days when I haven’t really done anything and thus have nothing to talk about, are just me coming up with a problem to rant about for a few paragraphs before pointing out to myself that that’s not really much of a problem.

That’s kind of the downside of doing blog posts every day isn’t it? There are only so many mildly interesting things for me to talk about.

As mildly interesting things go, I’m headed back to school tomorrow, and I’m actually kind of excited. All through high school, returning to school after winter break just meant dread and angst, but after having a month off, I think it’ll be good to go back to having work to do.

I mean, I’ll be complaining about all the work I have to do within a few days of being back, but for now, I’m optimistic!

Thanks for reading, and 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!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Fickle Flatlays

Flatlays are hard to make.

I do them both for these posts and for the sake of having something other than just pictures of my face for my Instagram. I do find that they’re worth the effort, though they don’t get nearly as many likes as my outfit posts – it would just be boring to have a feed filled with nothing of pictures of me, so the flatlays break up the monotony.

They also look very nice on my Instagram page in terms of aesthetics, which, to me, is very important. I know there are some fashion bloggers out there who can do well with nothing but posting pictures of their outfits, and good for them, but I feel like maintaining an aesthetically pleasing feed is just as important.

You’ve got to be able to scroll on someone’s Instagram page and be struck with how pretty the colors and patterns all work together without giving each post more than a half-second glance. I mean, sometimes that’s all you get on Instagram – a half-second of someone’s time – so everything needs to look beautiful from a glimpse.

So flatlays are significantly less “authentic” snapshots of my life than my outfit posts – I mean, I do wear all of those outfits, but for flatlays, I usually just set them out, take pictures of them, and then put them away.

Because let’s be honest – I never have this many pretty things laid out prettily on a pretty background at once. I’ve never even used some of those things – the Blick Art materials book is only there because I liked the mint color, and the Christmas cactus is actually my mom’s and not mine. I’m significantly less organized than my flatlays would have a person believe, but what else is new?

Thanks for reading, and 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!