March 22, 2019 – Missed Busses and Long Walks (OOTD #478)

So this semester, I thought it’d be a good idea to give myself off of classes on Fridays.

I figured with how hard I work in school, it’d be nice to give myself a treat and build my schedule around three-day weekends. When it came time to select classes for this semester, I purposefully avoided classes that met on Fridays — and lo and behold, it worked! I got off from class every week by Thursday afternoon.

The idea was that even though I’d have a heavier course load Monday-Thursday, I’d make up for it with my built-in long weekends.

Naturally, of course, that’s not what ended up happening.

What ended up happening was that I was so excited about my whole day off from class each week, that I decided to pick up a weekly shift again at the tutoring center of the homeless shelter on my day off. It’s only a two hour commitment, and I legitimately enjoyed going all fall semester, so I figured it’d be nice to be able to continue it into the spring. Besides, I’m able to sit and do homework whenever no one needs my attention (which is often), so it’s a productive way to spend time off-campus.

Then, on top of that, I heard about the internships that the Political Science Department offers, and I thought that might also be a good way to spend my Fridays off. Through that program, I started working at the Special Victims Unit of the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office: six hours a week, split between Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.

So in the end, my Fridays were never really off days at all — they were very busy days. I had to leave campus at 12:15 to catch the bus to get to my internship by 1, then I worked there until 4 in the afternoon. I then walked to catch a different bus to get to the homeless shelter by 4:30, where I stayed until 7:30 at night. In the end, I was away from campus for a total of about eight hours every Friday.

Like I said, normally, I took the bus in between the SVU and the homeless shelter, but on this particular day, I missed it. I got caught up finishing a project at my internship, and I lost track of time, forgetting that the Friday afternoon bus comes a lot earlier than the Wednesday morning one.

Thankfully, the SVU and the homeless shelter are in walking distance of each other — if barely. It ended up being about a 45 minute walk, making me 15 minutes late still for my shift at the shelter.

It was a nice, pretty day though, and I got to walk along the St. Joseph river and see downtown South Bend (the nice part, not the run-down part where the SVU and homeless shelter are), which is a rare occurrence. And I got some OOTD photos from somewhere other than on-campus — so it was a win in my books.

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 Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com


Jacket: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Top: Zara

Skirt: Banana Republic

March 2, 2019 – Markets and Mixups (#463)

It’s been nearly a year since I last went to the South Bend Farmers’ Market.

It’s honestly one of my favorite places to go in South Bend. I mean, farmers’ markets in general are cool, and though I don’t have a lot of other ones that I’ve been to to compare it to, but I think the South Bend Farmers’ Market is something special. For one, it has its own little building by the river, and so vendors are able to actually have permanent booths and displays year-round.

It also feels more like a flea market more than a farmers’ market — and that’s a good thing! I like flea markets. There are vendors who sell more than just produce — they have vintage books, houseplants, homemade jewelry, and eclectic goods of that nature. It’s my favorite kind of market (excepting, perhaps, a vintage market or an art fair).

Unfortunately, I don’t get to go often. It’s not really within walking or biking distance to campus (and let’s be honest — campus is basically the only thing in walking distance to campus), and so I only ever go when someone else drives me. It was Dads’ Weekend for my dorm, and so one of my friends’ dads offered to take anyone who wanted to go to the market one Saturday morning. Of course, I jumped on the opportunity. Any chance I get to leave campus (especially with an adult who will pay for my food), I take.

img_3651

Now, I don’t really feel any deep resentment for what I’m about to describe next — I’m sure my friend’s dad didn’t mean to do it. Granted, I don’t think people typically mean to do it, unless they’re purposefully trying to be assholes, but I haven’t really had to deal with that since my 9th grade Civics teacher, who was all kinds of problematic anyway. Nonetheless, it gets under my skin.

While we were loitering around, waiting for my friend to finish looking at a display of organic tea, he asked me how I liked Vietnam.

In case anyone here doesn’t know, I’m not from Vietnam. I’m from China, actually but my other Asian roommate, Lan Anh, is Vietnamese. He’d confused the two of us, something that seems to happen quite often. You can see Lan Anh in this batch of pictures, so you can decide if we really look a like or not, but I’m of the opinion that we don’t. Not enough to justify people constantly confusing us.

For one, she has dark hair and mine is bleach blonde. Like, you’d think that would make things easy for people. How many blonde Asians do you see a day?

What made the difference for me with my friend’s dad — why I’m perturbed but not really with him directly — was how apologetic he was afterwards. I could tell he felt badly, and that he recognized why his mistaking me for Lan Anh implied more than just that he was bad with names. I mind that he confused us, of course — I’m really tired of the all Asians look the same thing — but I appreciate that he was able to acknowledge his mistake. That’s all I want out of people . It’s okay if someone confuses Asian faces or names once or twice — we’re a minority, and people will be less attuned to facial differences if they don’t see us much — but I hope that they make an effort to do better afterwards. There are people I’ve known who have never bothered with that second step — with doing better after they make the initial mistake — and that’s what’s discouraging.

On a side note, I saw Pete Buttigieg and his husband at the breakfast café we went to. I didn’t go up and say hi because I didn’t want to bother him, but it’s cool to see a presidential candidate out and about living life like a normal person.

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 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

Jacket: Hollister

Skirt: J. Crew (thrifted)

March 1, 2019 – Getcha Head in the Game (OOTD #462)

Up next in Meilin Uses Sports for an Aesthetic Rather Than their Actual Purpose: basketball!

I had a basketball phase very briefly as a kid. I never played it on an actual team, and so I never learned the actual rules (beyond, you know, get the ball in the hoop) but i would play it a lot on the playground with my friends. I think it was just because of the games you could play with the balls that my school had — basically, basketball or soccer (and maybe football?) — basketball was easier for seven year-old-me with literally zero athletic ability to pick up.

View this post on Instagram

he did what ???

A post shared by Meilin || L'ensemble du jour (@lensembledujour) on

I could dribble a ball, I could throw it in the general direction of other people. What else is there to basketball?

Apparently, as I found out later in life, there’s a lot more to basketball. The few times I’ve actually had to play basketball according to the proper rules during gym class, I’ve been terrible at it. I didn’t like the people getting in my personal space and waving their smelly arms, and I didn’t like how physically aggressive you had to be in order to actually take the ball from someone. I like my sports without physical aggression.

Basketball is third behind maybe volleyball and kickball in the List of Sports I Have Found That I Am Bad At. This list doesn’t include sports that I’m pretty certain I would be bad at without even trying them — like lacrosse or ice hockey.

Anyway, though I lack any natural affinity for physical activity, I’ve found I like the aesthetic of sports. There’s something edgy about an empty tennis or basketball court.

Is it offensive to people who actually play these sports to reduce them to just their aesthetic for a cute picture? Am I appropriating athlete culture? If so, I apologize. I’m sorry I can’t actually play basketball and I don’t really care to learn how at this point in my life. If it makes me inauthentic to stand in a basketball court and use it for fashion photography, then I guess I’m fake.

I am also wearing a beret and I’m not French. I seem to be doing poorly at the whole authenticity thing.

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 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!


Blouse: Forever21

Trousers: American Eagle

Beret: A tree on North Quad (I’m not kidding — I found this hat frozen to a tree branch on campus. It looked like it needed a home, so pried it off the tree, washed it, and it’s mine now)

 

 

 

February 16, 2019 – Galentine’s Day (OOTD #456)

I’m glad Galentine’s Day has become a thing.

View this post on Instagram

come to me, children

A post shared by Meilin || L'ensemble du jour (@lensembledujour) on

In case you’re unaware, Galentine’s Day is the trend where instead of (or in addition to!) a traditional date with a significant other, you go out with your friends. The cynic in me sees is as just another way for restaurants to get us to spend money on Valentine’s Day. The optimist in me appreciates that Valentine’s Day is now becoming more inclusive for people who aren’t in relationships.

View this post on Instagram

🍳 🥞 ☕️

A post shared by Meilin || L'ensemble du jour (@lensembledujour) on

So the weekend after Valentine’s Day, my friends and I all piled into a car and headed out to a brunch place. Going out to eat when you’re a poor college student is always such an event, at least for those us who live in the middle of nowhere and don’t have a car. I imagine it’s rather different if you go to school in a city, where there are restaurants everywhere. When you go to school in South Bend, Indiana and there are restaurants nowhere, it’s a different thing.

View this post on Instagram

wax on, wax off

A post shared by Meilin || L'ensemble du jour (@lensembledujour) on

I feel like I should mention that our Galentine’s Day actually included two guys as well — Dylan and Jackson, the boyfriends of two of my friends. Galentine’s Day should be for everyone, not just women. It’s like Friendsgiving, but the Valentine’s Day version.

Turns out, the brunch place we went to had some spectacular lighting, which made for some great photos, as you can see here.

And nothing says “Valentine’s Day” quite like an outfit that makes you look like a priest (bishop? cardinal? Sorry, I don’t know my Catholic hierarchy well) from the Spanish Inquisition!

I got this cape from a vintage shop near my home called Street Scene, and to be honest, I’m not convinced it wasn’t actually once owned by a member of the clergy. It looks eerily similar to some of the capes that bishops wear.

I’m not sure if there are rules about wearing old clergy clothes. Are they like American flags, which are supposed to be burned after they’re decommissioned? Do I need to wash it in holy water along with my Tide Pods? Leave me a comment below if you have advice.

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 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!


Cape: Vintage (thrifted — Street Scene Vintage)

Top: ASOS

 

February 8, 2019 – Squeaky Boots (OOTD #452)

I don’t know what I did, but these shoes have been squeaking incessantly.

And I don’t mean like, a quiet, muffled squeal. I don’t know if I’d call them so much as “squeaks” as “shrieks” — because they are loud, they are obnoxious, and they make people stare at me as I walk by because every step I take sounds like I am crushing mice underfoot.

If you watched too much Spongebob as a kid like me, then maybe you’re reminded of the season one episode where Mr. Krabs gives Spongebob squeaky boots, and Spongebob proceeds to annoy the hell out of everyone in Bikini Bottom by squeaking everywhere he goes. That’s basically what I’ve felt like whenever I wear these shoes — a squeaky, annoying Spongebob.

And with all of the yellow I’ve been wearing lately, I think my transformation into Spongebob Squarepants is almost complete. I just need a Krusty Krab hat and a spatula now.

In reality, of course, I think I’d probably be more like a Squidward — a tired, easily-irritable grump overly-convinced of their artistic talent. Maybe I’m a Squidward with squeaky boots?

At any rate, I think it’s time these shoes go in the trash. It’s a little unfortunate because that means that was the third pair of short black boots I’ve worn through (or lost) in the last year. I go through these things like Tic Tacs.

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 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: White House Black Market

Trousers: The LOFT

Squeaky shoes: I’m actually not sure. They’re in the trash now though, so if anybody wants me to ship them to them, I’ll dig them out for you.

February 1, 2019 – Back to Work (OOTD #447)

After a half-week break from classes, it was back to work for me.

But by back to work, I don’t mean back to classes — I’m now back to work work. Like, adult work, at an office.

I’m interning at the St. Joseph County Prosecuting Attorney’s office with their Special Victims Unit this semester. The downside: so far, it’s been a lot of paperwork. the upside: the paperwork has been of a more interesting nature than the paperwork I was saddled with while I was interning at the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office (surprise: annual business reviews are not that fun to scan for hours at a time).

One of these days, I hope to get an internship (or you know, an actual paid job or whatever) where I get to do something other than somebody else’s paperwork for hours at a time. I’ll be interning in Washington DC next semester in the fall, and I’ll have to work 20 hours a week. I’m really hoping to avoid the paperwork intern scene, which I imagine is the role of a good chunk of interns in DC. And if I’m going to be stuck as a paperwork intern, at least make me a paid paperwork intern, you know?

I’ve found that my “office work” outfits often tend to look pretty similar — Banana Republic Sloan trousers,  blouse, and a blazer. Since I only have to go to the office twice a week, that’s not a huge problem, but I do hope not to get into too much of a repetitive rut. With the restrictions of what constitutes appropriate office clothes, it’s a little more difficult to be creative.

It’s also super cold right now, which makes wearing skirts or dresses impractical. I also have to walk ten minutes to the bus stop and another ten minutes to the office, often through unsalted sidewalks coated with slush and ice, which also limits my choices.

I’m going to try to get better though. I recognize that I’m slipping into a rut, and I’m going to make a conscious effort to change that. By announcing that on this website (to all…2 of its regular readers? Hi Mom and Dad), I’m hoping that I’ll feel as if I’m being held accountable.

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 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 (Salvation Army)

Top: Abercrombie

Pants: Banana Republic Sloan Skinny-Pant

October 26, 2018 – Out and About (OOTD #397)

Hey, kiddos. Have I told you yet about how much I like getting off campus?

No? Well get this fun fact — I savor every moment I spend that’s not on Notre Dame’s campus.

View this post on Instagram

toes? don’t need ‘em

A post shared by Meilin || L'ensemble du jour (@lensembledujour) on

In this outfit, I got to go off campus for a few hours on a Friday afternoon to do some thrift shopping. Why thrift shopping? I’m actually not entirely sure. Myself, I love thrifting. But I wasn’t the one who suggested this outing.

And I don’t remember why the friends I went with decided to go thrifting. Maybe they just wanted to get off campus too. I guess it’s a common interest.

Anyway, I didn’t know when I got dressed that morning that I was going out after class, but I’m glad I dressed the way I did. It’s a very nice, “going out” sort of an outfit — fake hipster glasses and all.

Besides, what a missed opportunity it would have been had I gone out into South Bend without an outfit worth photographing! As a fashion blogger, I’m always on the lookout for good photo locations. On campus, my options are limited, especially since I like as much as possible to keep some variation in my OOTD posts. When I go out, even if it’s just to a neighborhood thrift shop, I like to get photos because it means I can have some content that’s different from my normal campus stuff.

The only thing I would have changed about these photos are the trees. My outfit is so fall-like; I wish my background matched that mood a little more. I was ready for fall, but these trees just weren’t yet. Inconsiderate of them, huh?

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 Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: thrifted

Dress: thrifted

September 14, 2018 – May I Take Your Order? (OOTD #375)

Sometimes, an outfit just clicks.

And this is one of those outfits — even if I do look a little like a Hogwarts student or a waitress.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned my interest in ties before on this blog, but if I haven’t, take it from me now: I love ties. I’m 100% here for making ties for women a thing, and not just women at British boarding schools or women who work at Applebee’s.

This outfit combines a lot of my favorite outfit tropes — a short skirt, an oversized jacket, visible socks, and of course, a tie. I don’t normally like to brag on myself, but I think I really hit it out of the park with this one.

I’d been planning this outfit for a month by the time I actually got around to wearing it. I put it together before school even started, and I knew I wanted to wait for a special occasion to wear it.

 

Well, there aren’t very many special occasions when you’re a boring college student, so instead, I decided to wait for an occasion when I knew that I could at least get good pictures. And who takes the best pictures by my old man himself?

 

 

That’s right, my parents decided to pay a visit in mid-September for the Vanderbilt game, and what did I do when I first saw them but insist that they give me a ride, feed me dinner, and take pictures for my blog?

But really, look at these photos — my dad’s the best photographer. I’d have him come visit me every weekend if it meant getting him to take pictures for me. And that he and my mom would take me to dinner. And drive me around places.

Basically, being an independent adult is overrated, and I’ve got my heart set on moving into my parents’ basement and being a leach after I graduate. I’ll be a leach with good photos, at least.

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

Top: Banana Republic

Skirt: Zara

August 23, 2018 – The Bend of the South (OOTD #355)

Look at me, a proper Southern Bender!

Yeah, not really. I don’t even know what the proper term is for the people of South Bend; I think the Notre Dame students call them “townies” but I don’t know what the actual South Bend residents think of that. I interact with few South Bend residents on campus, so I’m really not sure of their take on the “townie” rhetoric.

Regardless, you’ll be proud to hear — I made it back off campus again! A friend and I took an Uber to go to a Vietnamese market downtown. She specifically wanted some groceries, and I thought I’d go along just to walk around and see something other than the golden-tan brick of campus for a while.

View this post on Instagram

order in the court

A post shared by Meilin || L'ensemble du jour (@lensembledujour) on

It was a welcome breath of fresh air. Being on campus all the time, I live in the same space as I work, which means that I feel compelled, no matter what time of day it is, to keep working. There’s no physical divide between “home” and “school” — they’re the same. In other words, I’m basically at school, doing school things, 24/7. The brief moments when I can escape school and do something that’s not only distinct from school in practice, but also spatially separate from school, are my favorite.

View this post on Instagram

alley-oop

A post shared by Meilin || L'ensemble du jour (@lensembledujour) on

Since we were downtown, my friend and I decided to walk around a little and take some pictures. She’s also pretty into maintaining an aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed, so we work well together when we take pictures. It helps as well that we’re similar in height and body type, so I don’t have to worry about her looming over me and taking a dreaded high-angle shot that makes me look even shorter than I already am.

View this post on Instagram

that’s groovy, man

A post shared by Meilin || L'ensemble du jour (@lensembledujour) on

As it turns out, South Bend has some cool locations for photos. It’s not as well-kept as Notre Dame’s buildings (excluding a few older ones, like Riley, that are just falling apart), but it’s a lot more diverse and interesting. I guess with economic depression, comes a lot of dilapidated buildings that fit an urban aesthetic well. Hooray for that?

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

Top: Vintage (thrifted)

Skirt: Somewhere in Nepal

August 16, 2018 – Stereotypical College Partygoer (OOTD #348)

Welp, I caved and I did it: I bought a denim skirt.

While I don’t know if I can link you to a specific example, I know I have written about my disdain for the denim skirt trend before. It’s nothing against the denim skirt as a concept — in fact, I love the look of a denim miniskirt, and the first few times I saw someone wear one last year when the trend had just picked up steam, I was a huge fan. But that’s the problem — the trend picked up steam, and a lot of it. Too much of it.

It could also be the fact that I live on a college campus, and I’m surrounded by a bunch of 20-somehting females who want something cute (read: sexy) but simple to wear when they’re going out to parties. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; people can do what they want while wearing what they want. I just get tired of seeing the same outfits over and over again.

Here’s how to make an outfit for going out in if you’re a Notre Dame girl: combine a denim skirt, an off-the-shoulder top (a tube top if you’re feeling spicy), a lot of highlighter, and mix with a few Mike’s Hard Lemonades. As a standalone concept, that’s not bad — but every single ND girl seems to wear a similar thing every Friday/Saturday night.

Anyway, I finally caved though and bought myself a denim skirt. While I kind-of resent its overuse as a party staple, like I said, I do like it as a standalone piece. I found it at a local Salvation Army, and for the price, I couldn’t resist. My hope is that I’ll be able to wear it in a more creative way than just with an Urban Outfitters tube top…but we’ll see. No promises — I am a Notre Dame girl after all, and the peer pressure may be too much to resist.

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 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!

Skirt: Thrifted

Top: H&M

Jacket: Hollister (fun fact: I got this on Black Friday all the way back when I was in middle school, and it still fits!)