September 12, 2018 – Spoiled by Goodwill (OOTD #373)

I present: another outfit that’s almost entirely thrifted.

I’ve been wearing more and more of those lately on account of buying more and more stuff from secondhand stores. I just feel like I can’t justify buying clothes full-price from the mall anymore; I’ve gotten spoiled by shopping at Goodwill.

Yeah, spoiled by shopping at Goodwill. I’m sure that’s not something you hear everyday.

I have good luck at thrift shops though. This top, while a little too long, was only like $3 compared to the $25 I easily could have paid at a place like Urban Outfitters that specializes in vintage-looking hipster basics anyway. And this skirt, while is from a local speciality secondhand boutique, was still a lot cheaper than whatever retail price I would have paid for it new at J. Crew.

I know some people don’t like having to hunt through the junk to find the good stuff, or don’t like the idea of wearing something that’s already been worn by somebody else, but I actually like both of those things. I enjoy the hunt, and I like the idea of making use of something that otherwise would have been thrown away. I can’t pretend like I’m always the most environmentally-conscientious person, but I’d like to try getting better. Buying used clothes makes me feel like I’m doing something useful.

The cost bit is huge too, of course. Dressing well and having enough clothes as to maintain a lot of variety in my outfits is important to me, but so is making my college tuition payments.

Anyone else here big on thrifting? I’d love to hear your perspectives! What’s been the best piece you’ve ever bought secondhand?

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!

Top: Thrifted

Skirt: J. Crew (Thrifted)

September 11, 2018 – Power Stances Only (OOTD #372)

You’re welcome to disagree with me, but I personally really feel like my posing has gotten better over the last year or so on this blog.

I can’t pretend I’m a fashion model or anything, or that any of the producers at Marvel are going to want me on their next superhero film poster, but I have certainly gotten more comfortable in front of a camera. While I definitely have my preferred stances that I come back to repeatedly (see: playing with my hair in some way or twirling), I do those stances pretty well. At least, I think I do.

It’s going to sound silly, but I’ve found the best way for me to improve how I look in photos is to experiment by myself by taking pictures on my own. When I have someone else take my picture, I’m always hesitant so as not to waste their time, so unless it’s a friend whom I’m already very close with, I tend not to ask much of them in terms of retaking things that don’t look quite right. When I’m on my own, just using the remote timer feature of my Apple Watch to snap shots with my iPhone, I don’t have to worry about wasting anyone’e time.

Well, my own, I guess. I can say that I have definitely done that before.

Honestly, the best “posing practice” I’ve ever gotten has probably been last semester, when I would hang out in Notre Dame’s art building late at night studying or working on projects. I’d wait until the building cleared out, or at least mostly cleared out, and then I’d prop my phone up on a chair and start practicing. No one was there to judge me, and I could try out any number of dumb poses to see what worked.

Essentially, it was the adult version of making funny faces at yourself in the mirror.

I’ve also found that just keeping up with other fashion bloggers and Instagrammers to see what kinds of poses they tend to use, and then replicating those, works too. Obviously, not every pose or angle will work for everyone or for every outfit/background combination, but it’s good to experiment. I’ve taken to posing with one leg crossed in front of the other while I lean back a little on the back leg (which, obviously, because I’m writing about it here, I wouldn’t have any examples to show you in this blog — check this one though if you want to see what I’m talking about) because I learned from other petite bloggers that it makes your legs look longer.

I actually keep a Pinterest board for Instagram inspiration — backgrounds, poses, ideas for photoshoots, anything I think could make for a nice addition to my feed. It’s also great to have around if you and a friend are in the mood to get cute pictures together, but you can’t think of what would make for a good post.

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!

Jacket: Anthropologie

Top: Abercrombie

Jeans: American Eagle

(Lots of A brands today, no?)

September 10, 2018 – In Retrospect (OOTD #371)

My apologies, it seems like it’s been nine days since my last blog post.

I’m not sure what the longest I’ve gone without writing a blog here is, but nine days probably ranks in the top ten. Whoops.

It’s been absolutely insane in my life since October 3, when I last posted — hence the nine day break from writing. While I generally try to get in a blog post regardless of how busy I am, as I find it adds a nice bit of consistency (as well as allows me to do a bit of reflection), I just could not find the time to do any writing these last several days.

What have I been up to? Midterms season, for one. And unfortunately, they’re not entirely done — I’ve got several exams following fall break, which means they’re going to haunt me this whole week while I’m trying to relax. To be honest, I’d rather a ghost haunt me, in true Halloween fashion, than exams. I feel like an undead soul would be much less scary.

On a more optimistic (kinda?) note, I’ve also been keeping super busy with study abroad applications. I’m submitting applications for Paris, France; Geneva, Switzerland; and Kigali, Rwanda. I have absolutely no clue as of yet which of these programs will accept me, and which one I would most like to do. I don’t even know which semester I’ll go abroad, or if I’ll try to do both.

Heck, I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow, my first day of fall break. Hopefully sleeping in a little?

I regret a little falling so behind on these blogs, because now the content I’m writing about here (my life as of October 12), is completely different from what went was going on in my life on September 10. I don’t even know what was really going on for me on September 10. Did I have exams? Was busy with activities? I really don’t know; I’ve already forgotten. I guess it wasn’t a very important day.

At any rate, the fact is, it’s fall break now, and I should hopefully be able to keep up my blogging schedule a little better. Fingers crossed that you see me here writing again tomorrow.

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!

September 9, 2018 – Travel Travesty (OOTD #370)

For part one of my September Chicago adventures, click here.

Previously, on L’ensemble du jour: Amanda and I went into Chicago to see a Fall Out Boy concert, and it was a pretty good day. We didn’t get lost, didn’t encounter any horrific traffic, and we got to see all tourist-y spots we wanted to. As travels go, it was about as struggle-free as an adventure could be.

So the next day, we woke up at our AirBnB and prepared to depart. We were on a slight time crunch, as I had a mandatory attendance class (plant class, actually, which I discuss here) that met at 1:00PM, and I needed to be back for it. So by 9:30AM, we were all set to go. We left the keys on the coffee table, and walked out to the car.

This, of course, is where everything fell apart.

First, the car door wouldn’t open. Upon examining the key fob, we came to the conclusion that it must be out of battery, and thus, it wouldn’t open the electronic lock. Okay, whatever, we’d just take out the physical key and start the car that way, right? Engineers plan for these sorts of emergencies; there’s no way a dead car key battery should stop a person from starting a car.

Well, apparently, the engineers of the Toyota Prius did not plan for this sort of emergency. The physical key let us open the door and get inside, but it would not allow us to start the car. After frantically consulting Google, the manual, and Amanda’s parents (multiple times), we realized that the only solution would be to get a new battery for the key.

Fine. So we walk down to the nearest convenience store, buy the battery and some screwdrivers, and scuttle back to the Prius. By now, we’ve wasted over an hour, and I’m wondering whether I could actually make my plant class. But optimistically, I figured the new car key battery would work, and that we’d be fine. It’d be a little tight, and we wouldn’t be able to get breakfast on our way home like we’d hoped, but at least I’d make it back on time.

Except, of course, the new battery did not solve our problems. The only new development after we replaced the battery was that now, instead of dead silence when we tried to start the car, the dreaded “check engine” light dinged on.

With few options left, Amanda decided to try calling a mechanic to jump the car. We had to wait an hour for him to come (during which time I took these photos in the neighborhood), but finally, like the Messiah, he came to deliver us from our suffering. For whatever reason, jumping the car worked, and while neither Amanda nor I could think of a reason why the car battery had died, or what that had to do with the dead key fob, neither of us really cared. Crossing our fingers that the car wouldn’t decide to die again while we were on the highway, we sped off back to Notre Dame.

By the time I got back to campus, I had never before been so glad to see the stupid Golden Dome and the Jesus statue on God Quad. I missed my botany class, but after frantically emailing my professor, she agreed to let me make up the class. In celebration, I took these photos on God Quad, just to prove that I made it back.

In conclusion, if you have uncharacteristically good luck for part of your travels, don’t expect to have the same good luck for the rest of it. In fact, expect to have bad luck — life likes to balance itself out that way. Like the time I got first class on my flight to London and then got trapped in Atlanta for two days on my flight home, no adventure is complete without a mild disaster. That’s what makes it an adventure.

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!

Jacket: thrifted

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: Forever21

September 8, 2018 – Lake Effect Kid (OOTD #369)

In case you’re wondering, the title is a reference to a Fall Out Boy song that is an absolute bop, and that I absolutely recommend that you check out.

As is the case with most of my travel-related blogs, this one might be a long one, so brace yourself. Today’s post sees Amanda and me going into Chicago for a nice day out in a big city, away from schoolwork and more importantly, away from campus.

Getting to the point where we were actually in the city though took more work than it should have. When we bought out tickets way back in the fall of last year (can you believe that? I had these tickets for basically a year) I figured we’d just get the train into the city in the morning and then be back to South Bend when it was over. What I didn’t consider was that the train would stop service to South Bend at 9pm, way before my concert was due to end.

Since we couldn’t get the train, and that was the only line that services South Bend, we ended up having to get an AirBnB and staying the night in Chicago. Thankfully, it wasn’t overly expensive, but it was a cost I wasn’t accounting for.

But after we solved our transportation issue, we had very few problems for the rest of that day. Note: that day. The next day was a completely different story, and I’ll tell it tomorrow.

Anyway, after we made it into the city, we stopped for a bite to eat in Nando’s (our first since we’d been in London over a year before), and then checked into our BnB. From three, we ditched the car and took the L (gotta love public transportation) off to Millennium Station.

Amanda wanted to see the Bean, and I wanted to see Navy Pier — basically, we were just big fat tourists for the afternoon. We might as well have thrown in the Art Institute and the Sears Tower (is that what it’s still called?) and done the whole experience.

The Bean was just that — the Bean, and exactly the same Bean as I had seen a few months prior. I must say, though, Millennium Park is certainly pretty. I don’t really think the Bean is all that, but the park is a nice stop.

Navy Pier was totally new to me, though. I feel like I must have been at some point when I was younger, but I can’t remember it. There was about an eight year gap in my life in which I didn’t see Chicago at all (which, when you think about it, is a little under half of my entire life), so my memories of it are either very distant, or very recent.

We were too cheap to pay for a ferris wheel ride (we’d learnt our lesson from the last time we wound up in a fair) or really to do anything other than look around and take photos, but I was glad to have finally seen the famed Navy Pier. Plus, we got some really dope photos next to Lake Michigan.

On a slight side note, you want to know something wild that I saw? An ad for my hometown, Lexington KY! Here I was, 400 miles away from Lexington, and still it followed me. You can never forget where you come from, I guess?

Finally, our last stop of the night was Wrigley Field, the location of the concert we were attending. And what concert was that, you may ask? Why, Fall Out Boy, of course — one of my all-time favorite bands. I had a really intense emo phase in high school, where Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Panic! at the Disco, and Twenty One Pilots were my favorite bands. Granted, they’re still kind of my favorite bands — and if MCR ever decided to reunite, you can bet I would be spending my life savings to go.

The concert was a blast, though I rather wish they would have played more of their older songs. I knew they wouldn’t, that they’d mostly play post-hiatus stuff because that’s what’s more popular, but I was still a little sad I didn’t get to hear more of their rock-centric early 2000’s discography.

What was most surprising about the day, like I said, was that very little went wrong. We didn’t miss a single train, we hit little traffic, the tolls weren’t awful, and we never got lost. As travels go, everything went about as perfectly as possible.

But that was Saturday. Sunday is another story.

To be continued…

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!

Jumpsuit: Urban Outfitters

Jacket: Hollister

September 7, 2018 – Plant Aunt (OOTD #368)

Dang, I can’t believe that, with all of my plant-themed blogs, I haven’t used that title before.

I’ve mentioned my interests in plants many, many times before on this blog, but until this year, it hasn’t been much more than just that — a personal interest. This semester, though, I got into a one-credit course called Local Flora, which is about local plant life in Northern Indiana. It’s honestly been one of my favorite classes I’ve taken here at Notre Dame so far, and it has nothing at all to do with my actual academic concentration.

With this class, I get to go out and learn to identify plants. I’m admittedly not that great at it, but I’m learning. Because it has nothing to do with my major, I admittedly don’t devote as much time to doing the readings and homework as I should, or as I would like to.

In some alternate universe, maybe I became a botanist. Realistically though, my interest in plants will likely never amount to anything more than a garden and a collection of indoor potted plants.

I believe that there have to be a lot of alternate universe versions of me that went off and decided to pursue interests other than law and international relations. I hope that one of my alternate selves is an artist, and maybe another took Adv. Human Anatomy earlier than senior year and decided to become a doctor. Maybe one actually decided to pursue a career in the military, like she’d always sort-of considered.

At any rate, I’m here now — and maybe this version of me will end up becoming a famous blogger. I’ve still got my fingers crossed. The YouTube career I’d always wanted as a middle schooler is probably never going to happen, but I’ve still got this. Granted, I’ll never become famous if I continue to put off writing blogs until 9PM at night but…shhhh.

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!

White Top: Altar’d State

Pink Top: Forever21

Jeans: American Eagle

September 6, 2018 – Lucky the Leprechaun (OOTD #367)

This just in: I’m going to be Notre Dame’s first female and first Asian leprechaun!

Ok, maybe not — but I kind of look like I could be here, no? All day I felt like I should’ve been step dancing and leading people on quests for pots of gold.

Honestly, I don’t know why it took me so long to think to pair this jacket and these pants. Lord knows I’ve had them both for long enough. I think I was concerned that they’d be too matchy-matchy, but as it turns out, they’re just the right amount of matching.

All day, when I didn’t feel like a leprechaun, I felt like some powerful boss lady-type character. Which ideally, I would feel like all the time, every day, but…you know. I’ll take what I can get.

If you noticed, these pictures were taken back in Como, a location I’ve often lauded for its beautiful afternoon lighting in the stairwell. It’s not a particularly dynamic background, but it is worth it every once in a while for the lighting. As long as I can dodge the afternoon traffic of students using the stairs to get to class, that is. There’s nothing worse than standing there, taking pictures of yourself in a classroom building just to have a student walk by trying to get to class. Like, who do they think they are, walking around like they have any right to go to class when an artist is at work?

It’s only two weeks now until fall break, which means it’s only two weeks until I’m halfway through my first semester of sophomore year. Not to be cliché, but I feel like it just started. I’ve been ridiculously busy, so the time seems to go too quickly. Maybe it’s the leprechaun magic.

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!

Jacket: Forever21

Top: Free People

Pants: Banana Republic

September 5, 2018 – Business Casual (OOTD #366)

Guess what college student isn’t going to wind up scrambling for a summer job at the last second this year?

This girl! Hopefully!

Rather than getting caught in a late-April panic with the sudden realization that I have no prospects for summer employment again, I figured I’d be proactive and head to the Fall career fair at Notre Dame.

Granted, most companies there had no use for me, a history and peace studies major — they wanted engineers, or businesspeople, or even researchers — but like, it was good to walk around anyway.  I spoke to a few organizations that seemed interesting, and there are now a few internships that I’m definitely looking at applying for.

It was also useful in that it cemented for me the reality that if I don’t go into law, politics, or government, my major isn’t really that desirable to anyone. Which I already knew, but like, going to the career fair definitely made it clear if it wasn’t already.

In other news, this outfit is made up of two of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe: this jacket, the so-called Most Expensive Item in My Wardrobe, and this dress, my favorite purchase from my Shoreditch, London trip. 

So even if no one will ever hire me and I wind up going into consulting like every other humanities major who can’t find a job with their degree, I’ll look nice doing it.

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!

Jacket: Lela Rose (thrifted)

Dress: Vintage, Brick Lane Market in Shoreditch (thrifted)

September 4, 2018 – Finalities and Fatalities OOTD #365)

Oh man, am I behind with the dates of these blogs.

One of these days, I’ll get caught up a reasonable amount on these blogs, and I’ll only have a week-long delay on them. One of these days, I’ll also have my life together enough to not post a blog at 11:30PM on a Thursday night, and instead post it at a reasonable time of the day.

As the kids say these days, “it be like that sometimes.”

My so-called “Hell Week” is finally over, and while my sleep schedule and general mental health definitely took a hit, I’m hoping that my GPA didn’t. Okay, I know it did but I’m hoping that the hit wasn’t too hard.

One of the most stressful aspects of a college course versus a high school one is that you often do not have any idea of what your grade will be until it’s posted after finals. With how much finals can be worth and with so few graded assessments over the course of a year, one failed exam can tank your grade for the whole semester. Which is lousy.

But I can’t do anything about the exams and papers I’ve handed now — they’re over, and all I can do is wait for my grades. If they’re bad, I’ll just have to try harder next time.

I got a nap for the first time in ages today, and it felt fabulous. Meanwhile, that means that I’ve got a lot of work to do now since I was unconscious all afternoon, but I think it was worth it. Typically, I’m of the belief that rest is for when the work is done, but it turns out that work is never done in college — so I guess I should either never rest, or come up with a new work-rest philosophy.

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!

Top: Forever21

Bralette: Aerie

Jeans: Hollister

September 3, 2018 – Panic! at the University (OOTD #364)

Midterms, midterms, midterms!

It’s been about a month since I’ve been in school, and the exams and papers are piling up, as they always do. I suppose there’s no way around it, but every time it happens, I’m surprised with how seemingly quickly it sneaks up on me. How dare they, am I right? If I’m going to be stressed out and dying in school, then at least I should get a notice.

And by notice, I don’t mean a syllabus. I mean like, a sign from God or something to let me know when I have a particularly bad week coming up in my life. I know weeks like this happen and I’m cool with that — no resentment here — but I wish there was a way of knowing when they were coming, so I can make sure to stock up on instant coffee and bags of potato chips to take my stress out on.

I don’t remember the beginning of the school year being quite this busy for me last year. I think that I must have made an effort to keep things chill for myself my first semester as a freshman; and now I’ve decided to make things extra busy for myself now that I’m a super experienced and wise sophomore.

If school concerns me more this year than it did last year, at least I don’t have the stress of trying to figure out how to navigate campus or make friends or live on my own.

I’ve mentioned this a little before, but without fail, September ends up being one of my least favorite months of the year. It always correlates with a stressful time in the school year, when the novelty of a new semester has worn off and I come to the slow realization that I’ve got three more months of this kind of pressure. It’s not until October when I finally start getting used to the school year and learn how to properly manage my time.

Or do I ever do that? Maybe ideally, I do. But in reality, I think part of the college experience is basically just always functioning in some kind of baseline stress existence, at least until I hand in the last exam or essay for finals week.

On the positive side, Halloween and Fall Break are approaching! I’ll spare you details since I know I’ll probably be talking about how excited I am for the next month or so. In the midst of midterms, it’s always nice to have a light at the end of the tunnel.

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!

Jacket: Vintage (thrifted)

Top: Hot Topic

Skirt: Aeropostale