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!

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.

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!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Merry Christmas Eve Eve

Happy almost-Christmas!

It’s two days until Christmas, and things are finally beginning to look like it at my household. I’ve baked some cookies, a cake, we put up our tree, my dad and I put up our outdoor lights – we’ve got just about all of the traditional Christmas stuff done.

I’ve still got quite a bit of wrapping to do, and even a few more gifts to buy, but I’m not too concerned. The gifts I need to buy aren’t due until after Christmas, and the wrapping can be done later tonight while I watch some Christmas specials on television.

It’s weird not being in school – I at once seem to have so much to do and nothing to do at all. For example, I stayed in bed until like 1PM today, like a proper lazy teenager, but after I finally got up, my dad and I managed to get some legitimate work done on the outdoor decorations. I’ll probably stay up late again tonight – I’ve got some Christmas cards to sign and address, the wrapping to do, and maybe even some blogging – and then wake up late tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to make it through the most recent Harry Potter book – The Cursed Child. I don’t know, does it even count as a book? Is it even officially canon? I actually bought it like, a year ago, but I only made it about halfway through the first act before I gave up on how contrived and corny the plot seemed.

I’m coming across much of the same issue now, trying to read it again – the plot does seem a little silly, and the characters are, for lack of a better term, out-of-character. Maybe it would’ve been better had I seen the actual stage play.

Have any of you read Cursed Child yet? What do you think? Feel free to leave me a comment 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!

Saturday Musings + Coffee – Snow Joke

Get it? Because it’s a pun on “no joke” which is in itself a joke about snow…?

I really, really should not be allowed on the Internet to make terrible jokes like this – I’m just going to end up embarrassing my grandkids when they look back on the Internet archives to see what their grandmother was doing when she was a young adult.

Anyway, we here in northern Indiana, like a large chunk of the US, got a nice helping of snow last night! While not technically the first snowfall (that was actually Thursday), this is the first time we’ve had enough snow to actually do anything with, you know?

And what anything did I do with the snow? This morning, my friends and I took advantage of the fresh wintery coating to head outside and build a little snowman on South Quad. Here he is, sporting my gloves, scarf, and hat. Honestly, he wears them better than I do – I should probably just give up this blog and let him run it from now on.

After that, I sat in my dorm, drank some coffee, and did pretty much nothing for the rest of the day. I’ve got an essay to write, three finals to study for, and a concert tonight, and I have pretty much made no progress on any of these things! In fairness, I was pretty productive yesterday night…so that makes up for it, right?

I really do think it’s this wonderful snowy atmosphere that’s got me so easily distracted. I mean, sure, I can be easily distracted on any day, regardless of the weather, but today’s been especially bad. I just want to stand by a window, watch the snow fall, and listen to Christmas music, yo. This studying nonsense is cramping my style.

And with that cringey statement, I’m going to go before I embarrass myself further. Wish me luck on my work!

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 – Festive Feelings

Look at these Christmas festivities – look at them!

I love Christmas decorations, but, going to public school for 13 years, I didn’t get to see them much in a classroom setting. I guess maybe in elementary school, I had some teachers who would decorate their rooms and let us do Christmas-themed crafts, but the Christmas festivities decreased significantly as I got older.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know what Christmas was in high school; I didn’t get to see it at all, so how could it possibly exist?

But no longer – I go to a Catholic university, so Christmas is a pretty big deal. It’s like…it’s the basis for the religion practiced here, or something.

Pretty much all of the class buildings have Christmas trees in them, and many have Christmas lights outside. My favorite has to be O’Shag, one of the Arts and Letters buildings, which has some really beautiful garland and a wreath at the entrance.

South Dining Hall also has some really nice decorations, but maybe that’s just because SDH is a beautiful building to begin with. There are lights lining the entire main dining area, and there’s a nice big Christmas tree right where you walk in. If you’ve seen the Great Hall Christmas feast scene from the first Harry Potter film, it basically looks like that.

It’s all especially nice because finals are coming up, and anything sweet and beautiful like Christmas decorations are appreciated as I stare into my textbooks and pray that I remember any information in them.