Sunday Musings – January 2020 Bullet Journal Spread

Ah yes, of course, the most relevant time to be writing about my January bullet journal spread — mid-August.

I’ve vacillated a bit on what to do with my bullet journal posts on this blog — if I should post them more in line with the actual time of year they correspond to, or if I should post them at the same time as my OOTD posts from that month go up — ultimately, I’ve opted for the latter. Hence, this post going up at the same time as my January 2020 OOTD posts, despite the publication date now being August 2020. It’s not ideal, but it’s what I’m going to work with until I get caught up again in my blogs.

January 2020’s theme was an idyllic French kitchen. I drew it up before I left for Paris, so unfortunately, it does not match the actual kitchen I had in my Parisian apartment (though they honestly share the same aesthetic).

I had originally wanted the theme of January 2020’s bullet journal to be Paris in general (think drawings of the Eiffel Tower, cafés, les Champs-Elysées, etc.), but I decided to go with something a little less “on the nose.” I figured that I’d probably get enough of Paris in my daily life; maybe I didn’t need it to feature so prominently in my stationery as well.

I was also afraid to make my bullet journal theme Paris before I’d even arrived in the city in case I didn’t like it after all. That fear, of course, ended up being unwarranted — Paris was a lovely city, and though it took me a little bit to warm up to (as do most places in the world), I was getting to be fairly comfortable in it by the end of January, after I’d been there for about two weeks.

There’s also the chance my opinion is a little tinted by nostalgia now, seven months later, because I miss Paris so much. Looking back at my bullet journal from January literally feels like a lifetime ago. Even though now, as of writing this post, I’m back at Notre Dame again and life feels like it’s slowly picking up the pace into a steady rhythm after several months of semi-isolation at home, it still seems so foreign to me and look at my January calendar spread and see all the trips and meetings I had planned. Pre-COVID Meilin really was .

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


Bullet Journal Supplies (with Amazon links)

Bullet journal: The Scribbles that Matter Pro, A5, 

Pens: Pilot Frixion 

Markers: Prismacolor Brush Tip  and Copic Brush Tip

Wednesday Musings – December 2019 + Year in Review 2019 Bullet Journal Spread

You know, I think I’m finally becoming a fully-fledged bullet journal girl.

It’s funny — I used to make fun (like, in a friendly way) of the girls in my high school who’d carry around their perfectly laid-out planners. Everyone carried Lilly Pulitzer agendas back then. I thought it was so unnecessary and almost childish; why would you need to write down what you need to do? What are you going to do, forget? How could you forget when your teachers literally remind you every single day of the assignments you have to do?

Then, when I began at Notre Dame, I caved and got my own Lilly planner. I figured it was university, and it was time I learned to organized and start keeping track of my assignments and schedule. You can even see some of my early attempts at writing in my Lilly planner freshman year here. I tended to doodle a lot, which, looking back, was definitely the precursor to my bullet journal habits now.

I guess the rest is history. I got my first bullet journal June 2018, and, after a few months of writing in it on and off, (I may have skipped bullet journaling from October-December 2018 and again from May-July 2019, oops) I have finally, after over a year of trying, gotten into a habit of doing it semi-consistently. I’ve completed spreads — mood and habit trackers and all — for September, October, November, and December. That’s four consecutive months in a row!

I even made a little year in review spread for 2019 to celebrate the end of the year. I think my favorite panel was the “themes of 2019” section. It’s cute to have little thumbnail sketches of all of the themes I did in the past year in one place. It really shows how much I’ve grown — I started by mostly copying YouTubers like AmandaRachLee, and  I ended by coming up with unique designs of my own.

Anyway, here’s to continued bullet journal success for all in 2020!

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


Bullet Journal Supplies (with Amazon links)

Bullet journal: The Scribbles that Matter Pro, A5, 

Pens: Pilot Frixion 

Markers: Prismacolor Brush Tip  and Copic Brush Tip

December 6, 2019 – Farewell, DC (OOTD #588)

My semester in DC felt like my shortest semester of university yet.

To be fair, I think it literally was — because it was administered through the University of California and not Notre Dame, my schedule turned out a little differently than a regular ND semester, and I wound up finishing classes and my internship about two weeks before everyone back on campus.

But the actual timing aside, in terms of personal lived experience, this semester just flew by, especially the second half. I’ve discussed this a little already, but after my 21st birthday weekend, the whole semester really picked up, and things improved exponentially. The first half of the semester, from September to October, was kind of a drag. It was hot and miserable and I felt like I hadn’t made any good friends to do things with. Then, come mid-late October, the weather cooled down, I finished up my domestic violence liaison trainings at the MPD that had been taking up several hours each week, and I finally established a solid group of friends. After that, everything turned around.

I think each weekend after my 21st birthday, I had something fun to do — the following weekend, Jane visited, then Mariana visited, then it was Thanksgiving, then the semester was over. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun.

The Friday of my last day of work and my last day of the semester, my friends and I treated ourselves to a nice dinner to celebrate the end of it all. In preparation for my upcoming semester in Paris, I chose a French restaurant called Le Diplomate. Then, we headed to the Smithsonian National Zoo for their Christmas lights show.

The zoo was one of the sites in DC that I had wanted to visit all semester, but that I hadn’t gotten around to. And in an almost poetic manner, when I finally did visit, it was my last night in DC.

It was a nice way to say goodbye to the city. I got to spend time with my friends, enjoy the lights, and relax knowing that all of my work for the semester was done. Even though it was a short semester, it was a productive one. It was my first time working a full-time politics-related job, my first time living in an apartment, my first time cooking for myself every day, and my first time living in a real American city. I know what I experienced in DC wasn’t full-blown independent adult life — I still had the help of my family and university to support me —  but I think it was the closest I’d been up until that point.

And you know what? I think I did an okay job.

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

Blouse: A boutique at a mall in Kathmandu, Nepal

Skirt: Abercrombie

December 2, 2019 – Legally Blonde (OOTD #587)

I guess dreams really do come true, sometimes.

Attending a session of Supreme Court oral arguments has always been on my bucket list. I attribute it to the Schoolhouse Rock song about the three branches of US government, “Three Ring Government.”  I had a DVD box set of all of the old School House Rock songs, and that, along with “No More Kings” and “Telegraph Line,” (and probably a dozen more songs whose titles I can’t remember right now), I would play on repeat. This was before I had YouTube or Spotify — or even an iPod or MP3 player — so the only way I could listen to the songs was by playing the DVDs on my big square television in my room.

Just describing that makes me feel old. I know I’m not even that old, but the fact that I am now able to describe how life “used to be” makes me feel like my parents.

Anyway, I attribute my early interest in politics and government (and to a slightly lesser extent, US history) to Schoolhouse Rock. I loved that box set — in fact, I bet I still have it in a drawer somewhere in my parents’ house. I got a weird sense of superiority from knowing the three branches of government and basic early US history before all of my other classmates. I was never one to raise my hand much in class, but just knowing that I knew how the balance of power at the federal level worked while other kids didn’t made me feel special.

That’s not to say those feelings of superiority were good feelings, or that I still have them. But they did inspire me to take more interest in government and politics — an interest that died off in middle and high school and was really only renewed after the 2016 election. And just as importantly, they inspired me to consider a career in law for the first time.

I never dreamt of being president — I’m not a natural born citizen, so that’s never been an option for me. I did take some smug satisfaction from telling adults who tried to be inspiring with that even YOU could become President one day propaganda that I literally could not due to centuries-old irrelevant laws, but that’s beside the point. What I did dream of becoming was a Supreme Court Justice.

And no — the dream I referenced in the opening sentence of this blog that came true was not becoming a Supreme Court Justice (yet) — it was simply getting to visit the Supreme Court and observe oral arguments. I had visited the building earlier in the semester for a tour, but the season hadn’t yet begun, so we didn’t get to watch a case unfold.

My friend, Joanna, and I got there at 6AM for doors that weren’t due to open until 10AM. By the time we had gotten there, there was already a line snaking halfway down the street. From our online research, we’d found that they typically only allow in around 50-60 people; from a preliminary headcount, we were in spaces 55 and 56.

We had a mini-panic attack around 8 or 9am when they let in the first round of people to get out of the cold, and they cut off at fives spaces ahead of us — at number 50 exactly. We knew the number of people they let in each session varied, but we were afraid that maybe they would just cut it off at 50, and we were going to have been literally a few people away from being let in. We decided to stick it out though, hoping that they would let more people in just before 10am.

Turns out, they did. There was some speculation for that first case we went to hear (New York State Rifle and Pistol Association vs the City of New York) might end up being a landmark 2nd amendment ruling. Though it became fairly clear that, due to the law that was up for debate being revoked before the appeal made it to the Supreme Court, there’d be no guns rights showdown like some people hoped, I still think they knew it would be a case that a lot of people would want to hear, so perhaps that’s why we got in even after the first round cutoff.

Despite the fact that the case didn’t end up being a big deal in the gun control vs. gun rights debate (protesters showed up anyway — some with free coffee, which Joanna and I much appreciated after standing outside for four hours) it was still fun to watch. I’ll admit, I was a little starstruck seeing the Justices in person, even from the very back of the room. I wasn’t allowed to take any photos inside the chamber, but even if I could, you’d probably only be able to see a blurry image of RBG scowling and Clarence Thomas slumping in his seat, bored out of his mind.

The second case — something about copyright law — was less exciting. Justice Thomas and I definitely nodded off a few times.

I’m so glad I got to go though. Getting no sleep the night before, waiting outside for four hours, panicking when we thought we had just missed the cutoff, and then going to work after it all for three hours in the afternoon — it was all worth it, in my opinion. Honestly, it was possibly one of my favorite things I did the whole DC semester.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. 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: Banana Republic

Blouse: Banana Republic

Sweater: Aeropostale

Trousers: The LOFT

Sunday Musings – November 2019 Bullet Journal Spread

Following up on my successful bout of October bullet journalling, I finished my November bullet journal on time!

I was, however, less successful at posting the blog about my November bullet journal spread on time. It’s January 2020 now, and this is the blog from November 2019, which ideally would have been posted before the month even began. Oops.

I know a lot of bullet journal bloggers and YouTubers like to post their monthly spreads in the week before the new month begins so that other people can get inspiration from their designs as they’re working on their own journals, but I like to show mine off after it’s already been completed. I like to doodle in the calendar as events come up and fully fill out my habit and mood trackers; otherwise, it seems so plain and colorless.

My November spread was themed on jewel-tones and fall fashion. In DC, took until about early November for things to start cooling off, and once it started, it didn’t take long for me to bust out all of my fall and winter layers. I mean, let’s be honest — I was already dressing in fall and winter layers in the dying days of summer, but at least by November, I was comfortable wearing them.

So in honor of my excitement for the coming of fall, I decided to theme my bullet journal around fall fashion. Each of my doodles for my mood tracker represented a different article of fall clothing (hat, scarf, coat, boots, etc.), and my cover spread was meant to represent a closet full of jewel-toned fall clothes. The way I imagined it, you should feel like you’re walking into an Ann Taylor LOFT store in late October.

Not everything I drew was necessarily a piece I own, but they were meant to look like something I would like to own. Some of the doodles were based on accessories/clothes I own, though — for example, the green and tan bag hanging on the clothing rack for the cover spread is actually a messenger bag that I own, which you can see here in the last photo from this old post. The green rain boots are also actually a real possession of mine. Can you spot the others?

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one. 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!


Bullet Journal Supplies (with Amazon links)

Bullet journal: The Scribbles that Matter Pro, A5, 

Pens: Pilot Frixion 

Markers: Prismacolor Brush Tip  and Copic Brush Tip

November 23, 2019 – Rainy Days (OOTD #585)

Apparently, even a light drizzle can make your photos blurry.

I took my phone out onto the terrace to take some pictures of my outfit, and I realized that it was raining. Not a real rain, not a downpour — just a flight mist that makes the air feel wet. Whatever, I thought to myself as I set my phone up on a lawn chair and prepared to take pictures of my outfit, my phone is waterproof now and it’s not even rainy enough for my hair to really get wet. 

Turns out I shouldn’t have been quite so flippant, I guess. The drizzle kept getting on my camera lens no matter how much I wiped it off, making this whole set of photos slightly blurry. Don’t worry, I didn’t have any issues beyond blurry photos (no water damage, thank goodness — I’d had enough issues with breaking my laptop and losing my glasses in that same week), but I was a touch annoyed that I couldn’t get anything better than these. This was a cute outfit.

I’ve taken to wearing this coat more and more often on days when it’s chilly but not freezing out — I think it’s become my new favorite mid-weight jacket. I bought it this summer while in Budapest, but it wasn’t until this fall that it actually started getting wear. I love it so much — it makes me feel like a whimsical 18th century pirate or maybe a French revolutionary. And I get compliments whenever I wear it. I think it dresses up just about every outfit I pair it with. It sure beats the ratty white coat I used to wear all the time back in fall semester freshman year. I wonder whatever happened to that?

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


Jacket: A vintage shop in Budapest

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: Forever21

 

November 22, 2019 – Drunken Noodles (OOTD #584)

At about T-minus two weeks before the end of the semester, my friends and I made a pact to try to sample as many DC restaurants as possible.

We’d been making money from our internships all semester and saving up our stipends, and we realized that we had enough leftover to splurge on some nice meals. None of us were from big cities; we weren’t used to living around a huge variety of food in walking  distance, and so we wanted to take advantage of it before we had to leave.

I’ve described this a bit before, but it seems that when you live in a city (as opposed to just visiting it as a tourist), it’s harder to convince yourself to go out and see things or eat out. When you live there, you’re focused on just living — going to work or school or whatever. Most nights, I’d just come home and eat some ramen that I boiled in a pot with some chopped green onion. I had the ability to go out to eat all semester, but I almost never did.

Hence the pact to try as many restaurants as possible before I left. Obviously, I couldn’t go out every night (I had class from 6:30-9:30 every Tuesday and Thursday, which complicated things), but on the nights that I could, I’d do a quick Google search for restaurants and pick the first one that interested me.

I imagine that’s what being rich is like — just finding some recommendations on TripAdvisor and then going for it. How much longer until I get to do that every day?

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. 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: Ann Taylor (thrift, Clothes Mentor)

Blouse: Abercrombie

Skirt: J. Crew (thrift, Clothes Mentor)

 

November 21, 2019 – Last Seen (OOTD #583)

Two items of mine made their final appearance on November 21 before being lost forever — these glasses and my MacBook Pro.

That’s actually not quite an accurate statement in regards to the glasses. Their actual last appearance before I lost them forever was Monday, November 25. I don’t have any pictures of myself while wearing them after November 21, though, so I’m lumping them in with the laptop’s disappearance date.

The laptop was dead for about a week before I caved and brought it to the Apple Store. On Saturday, November 16, I took it with me to a café to do some studying with friends, where I ordered a “deconstructed sushi roll bowl.” It was rather tasty — so much so, that I decided to put the leftover bowl in my bag.

That was my fatal mistake. When I opened my bag later that day, I realized that the soy sauce from the bowl had leaked out over everything — including my laptop. I then made a second fatal mistake — trying to turn it on.

Rather than letting it rest to dry out, I immediately tried to turn it on. And it did, for about ten minutes. Then the screen went black, and it never came back.

I gave it a few days, but it became increasingly clear that it was toast. In defeat, I brought it to the Apple Store in Carnegie Library to send off for repairs, which is actually where some of these photos were taken. The rest were taken nearby with CityCenterDC’s Christmas trees.

As for the glasses, I didn’t lose those until a few days later — and even then, I didn’t realize they were missing for a few more days still. This is their last photographic appearance. More on that later.

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

Sweater: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Trousers: Express

November 19, 2019 – Coffee Breaks (OOTD #582)

Starting around early November, I became a coffee break person.

I think it stemmed from the way that starting around early November, I became a fun person again. Once I became more comfortable in the city and with my internship at Brookings, I became more willing to explore the city on my own, and so I started spending more time checking out different coffee shops.

I actually became friends with two of the girls I met in DC through coffee shop outings — I think every weekend starting in early November, we’d choose a random new coffee shop to visit for the afternoon to study. Since I was getting paid, I didn’t mind the expense of buying coffee so much, and it felt really good to get away from my stuffy windowless apartment and my cubicle at work.

I think my favorite coffee shop in DC was Tryst, in the Adams Morgan area. I’ll admit, I didn’t go terribly often because it was about a 30 minute walk away and there were no metro lines that ran in that direction, but the two times I did go, I loved it. And the thing was, the coffee and the food weren’t even necessarily all that spectacular. What I loved was the atmosphere. It was open late (1AM on weekends) and located in an area with a lot of bars, so you’d get all sorts of colorful people coming in that you could watch while you worked. They didn’t have Wifi on the weekends (boo), but if I used my mobile hotspot, I was fine.

The other two places I really liked were The Coffee Bar, which was in walking distance of my workplace, and Pitango Gelato, also in Adams Morgan. The Coffee Bar had one of the best iced lattés I’ve ever had (seriously — it was life-changing), and Pitango Gelato had an amazing leek soup (didn’t end up trying the gelato though, so I can’t speak to that).

I think trying different coffee shops ended up being my favorite part about living in DC for the semester. I don’t know, I don’t tend to do a lot of restaurant exploration when I’m traveling otherwise — especially if I don’t speak the language of the country I’m in — and so it was nice being in a city in the US were I was completely comfortable just walking into any random café or restaurant by myself. It was also nice because I didn’t have to go by myself since my friends and I made it into a weekly thing. It made me feel more like someone who actually lived there rather than just a visitor.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. 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: The LOFT (thrift, Clothes Mentor)

Dress: The LOFT (thrift, Clothes Mentor)

November 18, 2019 – Can’t Somebody Open Up A Window? (OOTD #581)

The best part of the Brookings Library was that I could open the windows.

I didn’t realize until after I’d lived in an apartment with limited natural light and un-openable windows for three months that I really value the ability to get fresh air indoors.   In my entire apartment building, which I don’t believe had been updated since 1990 when it was built by the University of California, I don’t think there was one openable window.

At first, I hardly noticed — it’s not like I open every window I come across. And for weeks, it was too hot in DC to want to let any hot air in at all.

But think about it — when you do want to open a window, however rarely that may be, you really want to open it. Maybe you burned something in the kitchen and you want to let the smoke out before it sets the alarm off. Maybe your neighbor’s plumbing overflowed and you currently have sewage seeping into your living room carpet (that actually happened to me and my roommate twice). Or maybe you’re just feeling bothered and anxious and you know that some fresh air would make you feel better. Not being able to open a window in any of those situations ends up being quite a nuisance.

So I couldn’t open the windows in my apartment, and I couldn’t open the windows in any of the student lounges or study spaces (not that most of them even had windows), and there were no windows to be found in the cubicle where I worked. Thus, when I found that I could open the windows of the Brookings Library, I knew I had found my favorite study space.

I say that, but funnily enough, this is actually my last blog post from the Brookings Library — or Brookings itself. I still had about three more weeks of my internship to go, but I sort-of ran out of locations to use for backgrounds, and so I saw no need to continue taking pictures there. Besides, I started going out more and doing things outside of work and school. Who needs to open up a window to let fresh air in when you can walk out the door and into the fresh air itself?

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


Jacket: Thrift (Goodwill)

Sweater: Thrift (Goodwill)

Trousers: Banana Republic Sloan