May 23, 2019 – Sunday School (OOTD #506)

Oops, it looks like I can’t stop taking pictures inside churches.

In fairness to me, there are some spectacularly beautiful churches in Rome, and they are very often mostly empty. If I don’t visit during mass time (which let’s be honest — I almost never do, because I’m not Catholic), and I’m not visiting a major tourist site like San Pietro, the churches in Rome are usually not hopping places.

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alexa, play “take me to church”

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Which to me, is odd, because they’re architecturally gorgeous. The churches I went to as a kid usually had the same artistic design as the average Target — simple, good for holding large numbers of people, and unoffensive. If you were lucky, maybe they had a big cross for decoration near the stage, but there were none of the stained glass windows or elaborate paintings as you see in European churches.

At some point, though, you see so many European churches that they just begin to run together in your head. Admittedly, I don’t think I could tell this particular old elaborate church from an old elaborate church in say, France. I’m sure someone who actually studies architecture could tell me all the ways in which French church design and Italian church design are fundamentally different, but to my untrained eyes, I don’t immediately recognize the difference.

In fact, one of the reasons why I chose to attend Notre Dame was because I visited the basilica on my tour, and I was blown away by the beautiful design. In my daily life as a student, I don’t ever visit the basilica. Like I said, I’m not Catholic, so it’s just not a thing I do. But I had never seen such a beautiful building before (remember, this was a time before I had visited places of worship in different countries), and I didn’t know churches in the US could look different from big box stores. I thought beautiful, gothic-style churches could only be seen in Europe or in films like The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Turns out, you can see them in the US too, but Catholics have a monopoly on them.

So basically, what I’m saying is I went to Catholic school because I liked the aesthetic.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. 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: The LOFT

May 22, 2019 – Sotto Il Cielo Di Roma (OOTD #505)

Not even a week into my time in Rome, and I already twisted my ankle.

I wasn’t even doing anything exciting. I wasn’t running or riding the metro or sitting on the back of a Vespa. I was walking home from work, switching the song playing on my phone, and suddenly my whole body pitched forward. I didn’t quite faceplant, but I rolled my ankle pretty hard, making the walk home pretty painful. It took about an hour and a half, when it normally only took about an hour.

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buongiorno di roma 🇮🇹

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Thankfully, I didn’t have work the following day, and so I could rest up and let my ankle heal a little bit. The injury wasn’t bad — not bad enough to warrant getting it checked out by a doctor —  but it was a major inconvenience. For about a week, all I could do was hobble around slowly, which is not something you want to have to do in a brand new city.

As you can see in some of these pictures, I wrapped a sock around my ankle in an attempt to prevent myself from hurting it further. Because my boots are black too, I hoped that, at first glance, no one could notice that I had wrapped a sock around my foot in an impromptu cast. Socks normally go on your feet, not around them.

Still, I tried not to let my ankle prevent me from going out at least once a day, even if it was only to hobble around slowly and hunt for a place near my house to take pictures for my blog. You might notice that in most of my pictures here I’m sitting — can you guess why?

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. 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 (Clothes Mentor)

Dress: Thrifted

May 20, 2019 – Up On the House Top (OOTD #504)

I’m sorry, I don’t know why I used that title, it’s not even remotely close to Christmas and this post is going to have nothing to do with reindeers. I just happen to be standing on a roof because it was empty, and I didn’t know where else to go to get a picture of my outfit.

This was my first day of work outfit, and I personally feel like it was a success. It can be tough dressing professionally and stylishly at the same time, so my work-around is usually to incorporate color and pattern when I can. This outfit gets both.

What it didn’t get, however, was points for being appropriate for the weather.

May in Rome was cooler than June and July, but not by enough to justify wearing long trousers, a long-sleeve blouse, and a blazer. My daily commute was also an hour each way through a combination of walking and the metro. Either I could walk longer and take one metro line, or walk a shorter distance and take two metro lines. In the beginning, when it was cooler, I chose to walk, but by July, when it was reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit every day, you can bet I was walking as little as possible.

But at least I looked cute while I sweltered and died in the heat. I wouldn’t want the policeman or woman who has to write me up when I die of heatstroke to judge me.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. 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: Zara

Trousers: Banana Republic Sloan

May 19, 2019 – Roaming Rome (OOTD #503)

Packing for Rome was so hard.

I’ve never had to pack for such a long period of time before with only suitcases to put my things into. Packing for Notre Dame is different; I have storage boxes and suitcases and a whole car trunk to load them into. For Rome, as I had to fly, all I could bring were my suitcases.

I brought two suitcases to check, plus my backpack. Naturally, I didn’t start packing until the night before my flight left, so I didn’t really have the time to put together intricate plans for outfits.

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And besides, I didn’t even know how to plan. I knew it would be hot since I was going to be there May-July, but I didn’t know how hot it would get. Do Romans wear shorts and t-shirts, or are they always stylishly conservative? What kind of dress would my supervisors at my internship require?

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wes anderson would approve

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As you probably could’ve guessed from the aforementioned fact that I didn’t start packing until the night before my flight, I never bothered to research the answers to these questions.

And so the packing strategy I ended up going with was something like this — clothes I knew I liked and that I knew would be versatile. For example, I packed this plaid Zara blouse, which I figured could be dressed down with ripped jeans (as you see here) or dressed up with a blazer for work.

And I think it worked! For the most part, I think my attire was appropriate for my European audience, who on the whole, dress a lot nicer than Americans (no offense). Does that make me feel like I fit in? Yes — but I’m not sure how I feel about that. One thing I like about the US is that dressing nicely helps you to stand out in a crowd of basketball shorts and hoodies — you can’t easily do that when everyone around you dresses up too.

The solution? I guess it’s time to start dressing more like the “lazy American.” The next OOTD on LEDJ — leggings, a Victoria’s Secret hoodie, and Birkenstocks.

Sponsored link: Check out these extreme distressing black denim skinny jeans on Dresshead.com!


That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. 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: Zara

Jeans: Hollister

May 17, 2019 – Roman Holiday (OOTD #502)

I’ve actually never seen Roman Holiday.

I’ve actually never seen a lot of classic films, as I’m not a big movie-goer. I don’t like sitting in place for so long focused on a single thing; I guess it’s the Gez Z kid in me. Movie theaters are the worst. Siting in a dark room for three hours without your room and nothing to do but watch a screen? No thanks.

I do wish I’d studied up a little more on Italian cinema (or Hollywood cinema that depicts Italy) before I came here, because now I’m realizing that I don’t know all of the cultural references that I should. Everything I know about Italy in movies comes from The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Paolo and Lizzie driving around the Colosseum on a Vespa? An iconic moment in cinematic history. “This Is What Dreams Are Made Of?” Anthem of a generation.

Prepare for more interesting Roman backgrounds for my OOTD blogs in later posts, but this was just a single day after I’d arrived. I hadn’t even unpacked all of my clothes yet, let alone wandered around the city looking for good photography locations. These shots were just from the garden at the student center where I stayed. A judgmental nun might have watched me set up and balance my iPhone on a bench and pose for the camera, but I’m pretty shameless about it at this point.

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 summer. 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: Free People

Jeans: American Eagle

May 15, 2019 – Dilly Dilly Philly Philly (OOTD #501)

Controversial opinion, perhaps, but I love a long layover.

Many might bemoan a long wait time sitting in an airport until your next flight, but I’ve actually come to thrive on them. If it’s over 10 hours, I’ve found, I can leave the airport — especially in a city with good public transport — come back, and it’s like I had a little day-long trip before my main trip. A detour, if you will.

On my way to Rome, I had a nearly 12-hour layover in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, my second-favorite city in the US after New York. I left Lexington at 7:30 in the morning, arrived around 9, and I didn’t have to get my flight to Rome until 7 in the evening. I wasn’t about to wait around in the airport all day, so I grabbed my backpack, hunted down ground transport, and took the train downtown.

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what’s up, billy penn

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As it turns out, I also happen to have an uncle who lives in Philly (and another uncle, and some cousins, and basically my entire father’s side of the family), and so my Uncle Tim agreed to meet up with me for lunch.

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how enlightening

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Uncle Tim has actually popped up on this blog before — namely, on a day-trip to Bardstown, KY when he came to visit my family back home. He also gets a mention sometimes when I post pictures wearing work shirts with other people’s names on them, because he’s the one who gave me those shirts. He drives a hearse, has tattoos, and wears earrings. He’s a quirky dude, and he’s the best.

So Uncle Tim and I headed to the Reading Terminal Market for lunch, where I ordered a Philly Cheesesteak (the only place to buy one) and grabbed a Wawa smoothie to drink. From there, we headed to South Street, where we walked around the vintage and antique shops.

Like my father (his brother) and me, Uncle Tim could spend an eternity in antique shops. We both had a lot of fun wandering in and out of the various oddball stores on South Street. I was proud of myself — I didn’t buy anything, even though there were definitely a few pieces of vintage clothing that caught my eye. I just didn’t have enough storage space in my bags to take them with me all the way to Rome. I’m trying to whittle down my wardrobe, bit by bit.

All in all, it was a good layover, but it was only that — a layover. I wished I could stay longer and meet up with the rest of the family, but I had another plane to catch, so after an afternoon in the city, Uncle Tim brought me back the airport and we said our goodbyes.

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bye, usa

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Next stop: Rome, Italy!

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 summer. 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: H&M

Top: The LOFT

Leggings: The LOFT

May 11, 2019 – Indianapolis Inspiration (OOTD #500)

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the crossroads of america

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On the way home from Notre Dame, my family and I stopped over in Indianapolis for the night.

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swipe for a surprise

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Indianapolis is one of those cities that, despite not being too far from home (maybe 3 hours from Lexington in one direction and 3 hours from South Bend from the other), I never visit. Indiana — and its related cuties — is just one of those places that you drive through on the way to cooler places, but never actually stay in.

I mean, I guess I wasn’t doing anything any different on this stop either. My parents didn’t want to drive all the way from South Bend to Lexington in one day because it’s boring and horrible — just a straight line with two lanes and corn fields for miles — so Indianapolis was just a place to stretch our legs and get some food before moving on.

For what it was, though, it was a fun stop! We walked up and down Mass Ave, the main shopping street (which kinda didn’t have that many stores…), ate dinner, and then treated ourselves to ice cream. It was much better than driving through the corn fields for the full six hours, even if it meant getting home later.

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thanks mom

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It was like a long layover on a flight where you actually get to leave the airport, except…less cool.

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: Akira

Trousers: Thrifted (Salvation Army)

May 10, 2019 – Baby’s Got The Bends (OOTD #499)

Blog title courtesy of: “The Bends,” by Radiohead, a song that I haven’t listened to in months and that I had to Google to ensure that it actually existed and I wasn’t remembering the lyrics wrong.

At the beginning of my sophomore year, I told myself that I would make an effort to go out and see South Bend more. I’ve talked about the so-called “Notre Dame bubble” on this blog countless times before, so I won’t go into it deeply, but Notre Dame is a whole world apart from South Bend, the city where it’s located. Most students hardly leave campus at all, except for parties.

It’s my least-favorite part of ND life, and so I made an effort all this year to get off campus more — a feat that’s rather difficult without a car. I started volunteering at the South Bend Center for the Homeless once a week with a class on nonviolence, and in the spring semester, I interned at the Special Victims Unit of the St. Joseph County Prosecutor. 

Having a set schedule and people who relied on me to show up for work at a designated time each week was perfect for actually forcing me to haul myself out to the bus stop at the far end of campus and ride it out to the terminal downtown. I would have never convinced myself to go off campus nearly as much had I just wanted to go for fun; I needed something concrete to do. If I were just going for fun — say, to get coffee — I would never do it because I’d convince myself that I could just do that on-campus.

So as you could probably tell, I didn’t often go out into South Bend for fun. I went to the farmer’s market once or twice and went out to brunch with my friends on Valentine’s Day, but otherwise, I mostly stuck to the areas where I worked. So when, at the very end of the year, my parents came to move me out from my dorm, it was still exciting to get to go out to eat in Downtown South Bend.

And it was still exciting to take pictures in the city, even though I’ve done it several times before. I know Notre Dame’s photo locations inside and out, so it’s always exciting to see something new, even if it’s just some artwork outside of a pottery shop in South Bend.

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: (thrifted)

Jeans: Hollister

May 5, 2019 – Golden Days and Golden Domes (OOTD #498)

Ironically, these shots were actually taken at quite the opposite of “golden hour” — it was late morning, meaning that the sun was almost but not yet directly overhead. Aside from high noon lighting, late morning and early afternoon lighting are both some of my least-favorite to work with.

Luckily, these shots turned out great anyway! I owe that more to a pretty dress, a pretty background, pretty makeup, and pretty friends than the light, though. They go a long way, especially together.

As has become tradition among my friends and me, before the last week of school (and the associated final exams), we headed to the golden dome for a photoshoot. I’m not sure exactly how we got to doing this — or how much longer we’ll continue to do it — but since freshman year, we’ve commemorated the end of a year with a friendship photo session. We also did it at the end of last semester, around Christmastime.

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see you losers in 15 months

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Maybe we’re a bunch of self-obsessed young adults addicted to social media (I mean, I can’t speak for my friends, but I know that’s how I’d self-identify), but it’s nice to have some good group shots with your friends. Not only is it perfect for the obligatory end-of-the-year sentimental retrospect Instagram post, but it’s the sort of thing you can put into a picture frame or hang up on your photo board.

Are candid shots probably more authentic and a better representation of how you and your friends behave together on a daily basis? Sure. But a semi-staged photoshoot where you all get dressed up and recruit someone’s boyfriend to take your picture in front of iconic campus imagery is a good way to capture the group at its most poised — even if it’s not a very poised group.

So this is my last blog post of sophomore year! There’s one still to come that was taken in South Bend before I had fully moved out, but this is the last one from while classes were still going on. I didn’t bother with pictures during finals week, especially since I knew I already so behind with posting these things.

Thanks so much for sticking with me throughout this whole year — from ND’s undefeated football season to study abroad applications to Qatar to France to the Women’s March to the Polar Vortex. I can’t wait to share my summer adventures with you!

Up next: Rome, Italy!

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.


Dress: Francesca’s

 

April 25, 2019 – Closing Walls and Ticking Clocks (OOTD #497)

Blog title courtesy of Coldplay’s classic 2003 piano bop, “Clocks.”

My new favorite late-night building seems to be Jenkins-Nanovic, the location of several of the social science departments, including one of my personal favorites — the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

After my 24-hour card access got revoked from Riley, the art building, on account of not being in an art class anymore, I went on the hunt for a new late-night haunt. I wanted somewhere that I could hang out and feel relatively confident that I had privacy, which is not really the case in the more popular buildings like Hesburgh Library or LaFun. Sometimes it’s nice to have other people around suffering late at night — but sometimes it’s better to be alone to wallow in self-pity.

I’ve always liked J-N during the daytime because of this beautiful foyer room (featured here more prominently), but until spring semester sophomore year, I never spent time in the building after 5pm. As it turns out, it empties out rather early, leaving me alone to study and do work in peace.

And, of course, to wander around and take pictures for my fashion blog when I get distracted.

I also love that this foyer room features those lightbulbs that mimic natural sunlight. When it’s 2AM and you’re struggling to finish a paper that’s due the next day, you use whatever tricks you can in order to stay up. Circadian rhythms be damned — if I can fool my body with some caffeine and fake lightbulbs, I’ll do it.

(That’s horrible life advice, by the way. Please take care of yourselves).


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.

Blazer: Banana Republic

Blouse: ASOS

Trousers: Banana Republic

Earrings: A street vendor in Kathmandu, Nepal