July 8, 2018 – Getting Edgy (OOTD #325)

I bet my mother about had a heart attack when she saw these photos.

As much as I generally don’t mind heights and don’t mind climbing to the top of slightly sketchy perches, I would not have actually done so if it were actually as dangerous as these photos make it look. While my friends did once tell me I was probably the most likely person they knew to die while trying to get a selfie, I do actually care somewhat for my physical wellbeing.

So rest assured, I’m actually safer here than I look — there’s a ledge not far below the rock I’m sitting atop, and then the cliff below. It was still pretty scary looking down though.

So why am sitting on a rock in the mountains, seemingly perched on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley? Believe it or not, I did not actually climb all the way up here just for a rock and some pretty views — it was actually a temple to the Hindu goddess Kali that I had in mind.

One of the very first excursions I went on while in Nepal was to the “1000 steps temple,” which I never actually ended up reaching on account of the sun going down and our legs getting tired. Instead, about 250 steps up, we stopped to see to pay a visit to the giant gold Buddha, and then, satisfied with what we had seen, turned around and went back.

This time, we decided to go the rest of the way and finally see what was at the top of those 1000 steps. It was literally about 45 minutes of climbing, but finally, the steps ended and we were greeted with the infamous 1000 steps temple.

And you know what? It was pretty lame. I’ve seen plenty of religious structures so far while I’ve been in Nepal — mosques, stupas, temples, shrines — and pretty much all of them have been exciting experiences for me in one way or another, either because of the architecture of the buildings themselves or the beauty of the rituals performed there.

The Kali temple, however, was no architectural marvel, and there were few people there to actually observe doing anything. In fact, I think the only people we saw there were tourists.

In fairness, we were unable to visit part of the actual structure due to damage that had been caused by a bad earthquake a few years back, so perhaps that would

If the temple itself was relatively uninteresting, the views we saw there at the top of that mountain were the exact opposite. Nepal, and in particular, the Kathmandu Valley, is full of spectacular mountain views. I’m actually surprised I’m not tired of them by now with how often I see them. The sight of the cloudy hills never gets old, though.

June 28, 2018 – Departures (OOTD #315)

This is it, guys! I’m out of the country!

After months of anticipation, I’m finally headed off to Kathmandu, Nepal in order to attend an Islamic theology and interfaith dialogue conference.

I guess I haven’t ever fully given the story of how or why I’m going to Nepal, so let’s go back a little allow me to explain. I’m a part of the International Peace Studies program at Notre Dame, and a part of that is getting a listserv email every week of announcements that I mostly don’t care about. In fact, very rarely do I actually read the Peace Studies emails because I get so many emails from various departments and clubs at Notre Dame that it’s impossible to read them all.

But for some reason, one day back in late February, I decided to actually read an email, and a particular headline caught my eye — “Spend two weeks in Nepal this summer!” Spend two weeks in a foreign country? Sounds like fun, I thought.

I wasn’t really clear on what on earth I’d actually be doing, to be honest — at first, all I was primarily interested in was the opportunity to travel. I figured if I also had the opportunity to learn something or contribute to a research project that would add to my peace studies experience, that would be great too.

So I submitted my application, got an interview (which, by the way, was low-key the best interview I’ve given in my life — you can check out the OOTD from it there), and was somehow actually accepted to the program.

Then it was time to actually figure out more clearly what I would be doing in Nepal, so I could more clearly explain to people who asked the purpose (beyond being a tourist) of my trip.

I guess that sounds bad — shouldn’t I have been more clear on what I was doing before I accepted the trip to Nepal? The truth was, I tried very hard to understand the project, but  even after reading the application several times, asking questions during my interview, and reading about Madrasa Discourses on their website, I still wasn’t clear.

What I’ve gathered at this point is that I’m to attend workshops alongside madrasa-educated South Asian and African grad students on topics like philosophy, theology, feminism, and peacebuilding. My purpose will be to contribute to these students’ discussions and offer the American perspective — not necessarily to assert that it is necessarily correct, but to offer it for them to mill over. Through these discussions, I believe the head professor, Dr. Ebrahim Moosa (a madrasa-educated man himself) hopes to contribute to these scholars’ understandings about Islam and modernity, helping to strike a balance between their traditional religious beliefs and the contemporary beliefs of 21st century society.

But anyway, that’s for me to see when I get to Nepal. Until then, my focus is getting from airport to airport without missing any flights. More travel updates to come!

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: Banana Republic

Pants: Target

June 15, 2018 – Let’s Go Down to the Tennis Court (OOTD #303)

…and talk it out like yeah?

IMG_0605.jpeg

I absolutely had to Google the lyrics to that (“Tennis Court” by Lorde, by the way) because I haven’t heard that song since like, 2014 when I was a freshman in high school. Freshman me probably would have been ashamed that I didn’t remember it, but what can I say? It’s been years since “Tennis Court” frequented pop radio, and it’s been even more years since I regularly listen to pop radio.IMG_0591.jpeg

I had a brief Lorde phase after “Royals” came out when I would listen to the whole of Pure Heroine almost everyday while I did my Algebra II homework; it was a good studying album. I still really like a few of the songs, like “Love Club” and “Buzzcut Season,” and leave them in my Apple Music’s shuffle rotation. Melodrama was also a solid album, and also made for good studying music.

I’ve always wanted to do a proper tennis court photoshoot, but this impromptu one that mom did for me as we walked the dog through the park will have to do for now, at least until I’m back in the US. You’ll have to excuse the slightly messy hair texture — like I said, I was out walking the dog with my mom, and it was pretty warm out.IMG_0604.jpegIMG_0609.jpeg

I keep a Pinterest board for Instagram ideas, where I’ve seen a lot of really cute tennis court fashion photography that really cleverly uses the vibrant colors of the court as a background. Maybe once I get back to the US, I’ll drag Amanda out and make her take pictures with me.IMG_0596.jpeg

In more exciting news, I arrived in Nepal a few hours ago! In else exciting news, I won’t go into much detail with the Nepal adventures now because I’m sure I’ll have a full blog dedicated to that later this month. Rest assured, after 27 hours of traveling, I made it!IMG_0587.jpeg

The jet lag is beginning to kick in though, so I think I ought to try to get some sleep. It’s about 5:30 AM here, and while I got a little sleep earlier in the night, it really wasn’t as much as I should have gotten. Whoops.

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!

Sweater: Target

Top: Pitaya

Jeans: American Eagle 9thr

May 1, 2018 – Pop Punkish (OOTD #277)

One of these days, I’m going to accidentally miscount these OOTD numbers and I’ll never notice because I never check.

I love fashion because I can go from feminine and soft one day to punkish the next. I don’t really have any claim to the title of a real punk person, but I like the aesthetic.

I’m pop punk, if you will — an easily digestible and more mainstream version of the real culture.

For as much as I like my punkish fashion and my pop punk music, I’ve never really gotten into a real punk scene. Maybe it’s because there really wasn’t one in Kentucky — and there certainly isn’t one at Catholic School ™. If I was ever to shave my half of my head and participate properly in the punk renewal of the 2010s, I’d probably have to move to London where I’d feel less alone about it.

Besides, I have no tattoos. Can you really be punk without tattoos covering at least one of your appendages?

I can’t imagine having a sleeve of tattoos at Notre Dame. Not that it’s against a dress code or anything — there is none — but I would certainly be alone in that fashion statement. I’ve complained about this before, but Notre Dame students are about as vanilla as it gets, which is interesting, given how much money a lot of their families have. If they wanted to dress more interestingly, they certainly have the resources to do so, but you don’t really see anyone flaunting it in that way.

High school fashion is, in my opinion, still where it’s at. You get a nice mix of neon-haired emo kids along with the Lilly Pulitzer-wearing preps (did I just say “prep” to designate a  culture? Is this 2006 MySpace?). It’s a good, diverse environment for creative expression.

Of course, most people still just wear yoga pants and sweaters everyday…but I can’t blame them. The diversity of cultures in public school (at least in mine) was nice, but that was about it. My school was also freezing 99% of the time, and you never knew which teachers were going to be sticklers about dress code, so dressing up wasn’t always the most practical option.

Anyway, 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: River Island

Pink top: Forever21

Skirt: 

Boots: Doc Marten

March 30, 2018 – This Isn’t Chicago (OOTD #258)

As much as I’ve complained about Catholic school’s somewhat restrictive practices, especially during gLent, I must say I do appreciate things like getting off for Easter Break.

I’ve always gone to public school, so Easter weekend or Good Friday have never warranted a break from school. Actually, I do have this vague memory of, back when I lived in Louisville, there being a vote in the school board about whether we should have off for Oaks Day (a big horse race at Churchill Downs right before the Derby) or Good Friday, and they chose Oaks.

So it was a treat to get off a few days for Easter. A lot of my friends went home, but it didn’t really seem like it was going to be worth the time and money for me to fly back to Kentucky, so I just hung out on campus.

My original plan was to try to go into Chicago — there’s a train that goes in every two hours from the South Bend Airport for only $12, and the trip is only about two hours (one hour if you account for the time difference!). I thought it would be a fun little weekend getaway to a real city and a way to get away from the Notre Dame bubble.

I didn’t want to go alone though, and I didn’t have any friends who were willing or able to join me. Sadly, it looks like I am not going to make it into Chicago until perhaps after the semester is over — so I’m looking at maybe trying to go for a day when my parents come in to help me move out. Parents: if you’re reading this, which I know you are, you should take note of that 😜

Instead of getting out of town for Easter Break, I had a friend suggest a trip to the Mishawaka Mall, only about 20 minutes by bus away from campus. It wasn’t Chicago like I’d hoped, but it was off campus — and that’s really what I was craving.

It turned into a little bit of an adventure when we wound up taking the wrong bus and going to downtown South Bend instead of Mishawka and getting stranded at the bus station for 30 minutes until another bus could take us the other direction. It was fun though because it was something other than Notre Dame.

I got my pictures done at the mall nearby the Easter Bunny setup. Why is there no Easter Bunny in these shots then? Because this is actually the opposite side of the setup — the Easter Bunny is sitting in a chair directly opposite where I’m standing here. I didn’t have the time to wait in line or the money to pay to get my picture done with a guy in a fur suit, so I figured I’d cheat a little and still use the same background.

Anyway, I’ve got an exam to study for for tomorrow, so it’s time for me to wrap this up. That’s 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, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Dress: Vintage (thrift)

Top: Target

Hat: Kohl’s (I think? I’ve had this guy for ages — since I was maybe 10. One of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe anyway!)

March 29, 2018 – Orange You Glad… (OOTD #257)

…I didn’t say “orange?”

Was that knock-knock joke as much a part of everyone else’s childhood as it was mine? I’m pretty sure I laughed for hours the first time I heard it — and every time I told it to someone else. My poor parents, they probably heard it over and over again for years, but they still tolerate me.

I’ve been making an effort to wear more outfits with strong color palettes lately to complement my new Instagram posting schedule that forms a rainbow effect, and this orange outfit is a part of that effort.

The tricky part of these new color-themed photos is not so much forming outfits that follow a color scheme (though I have been struggling a bit with purple — for some reason I just don’t own much of it, but in finding a background that also follows that color scheme.  As you might know, I’m a bit limited in the colors I can find on Notre Dame’s campus, especially in the winter when all is grey and the ground’s covered in dirty snow half the time. That’s part of the reason why I’m so eager for spring to get here already — I want to take advantage of the colors of some of the beautiful flowers that bloom!

Sometimes though, I’ll find patches of color in unexpected places — like this collection of prints that are currently on display in the Riley art building. I don’t know what class they’re a part of, and I don’t know what they’re supposed to mean (though I think it may have to do with PSAs?), but they had a nice orange theme going on, so I jumped on the opportunity to get some shots when the building cleared out for the night.

I wonder if I’ll find any more hidden bits of color in Notre Dame’s various buildings while I’m here. Exploring empty classrooms at night has become like a new hobby for me, though it can be a bit isolating and creepy. One of these days I wonder if I might bump into the ghost of Father Sorin or something strange like that.

That’s 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, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Sweater: Target

Skirt: J. Crew (thrifted)

March 16, 2018 – Plant of the Day (OOTD #247)

Guys, look at that! It’s a flower!

I’ve been on a gardening kick recently, perhaps started off by the start of spring and the vegetation that it brings. Or rather, the vegetation it’s supposed to bring — I haven’t really seen any plant growth yet, especially back in South Bend where there’s still snow on the ground.

There’s been a little bit of plant growth going on in Lexington though, owing to the fact it’s significantly warmer here usually. Look at these yellow daffodils that were growing in a little bed by the mall! I was so excited to see them.

One of these days, I need to show you all the plants I’m keeping in my dorm. I have a cactus, some succulents, and some little sprouts that I’ve been trying to grow from seeds. I’m becoming a plant lady.

I was never really into plants as a kid, admittedly. I grew bean sprouts from seeds with my preschool class like every other kid did, but they couldn’t talk to me and they didn’t move, so I had no interest.

I’m glad I’m finally getting into house plants, though — there’s a lot to learn and appreciate about them. I’m admittedly not an expert, and I will grant that my African violet is looking quite sad (I think it’s got some mold, but I don’t know how to get rid of it), but I’m trying to learn. It’s a nice little hobby.

On a side note, still looking for suggestions for what color to dye my hair next! Leave me a comment if you have an idea.

Jacket: H&M

Shirt: Forever21

Shoes: Target

March 13, 2018 — #Skooled (OOTD #244)

As much as I resent losing sleep during spring daylight savings, I am a fan of having more hours of daylight in the evenings.

It’s particularly useful for doing photos after dinnertime. It used be, especially in January/February, that I would have to get my OOTD shots done before about 6:00pm or else it was too dark to get natural light at all. Now, I’m good until at least 7:30, which takes a lot of pressure off of me.

When I’m home, like I was in these photos, I like to make my outfits out of articles of clothing that I know I will not have with me while at school, like this coat, sweater, boots, and scarf. I feel badly when my clothes aren’t worn, and I miss the pieces I can’t bring with me to my little wardrobe in my dorm at Notre Dame.

Breaks are a time for me to capitalize on my sleep and free time so I am very appreciative of them.

Though, to be honest, I might actually prefer going to school year-round if it meant my workload was significantly lightened. I’d sacrifice a few weekends and breaks to get rid of homework. It’s been a nuisance since literally kindergarten, and it’s only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older.

I heard one of my friends talking the other day about how she enjoyed exams, how they were like puzzles for her to figure out — and I couldn’t agree less. What kind of person likes exams? Even if you know every answer, and make 100% — which probably hasn’t happened to me since middle school — what’s there to like about the actual process of sitting down and writing out answers so someone else can offer you validation?

As much as I appreciate the education I’ve received so far in my life, I still don’t think I’m really the type of person who likes school. I do alright grades-wise, but I can’t imagine becoming a teacher or a professor and remaining in this system for the rest of my life. I mean, I can’t necessarily say there’s anything better out there in the workforce, since I haven’t gotten there yet, but looking back, I think the most enjoyable moments of my life have happened separate from my education experience.

You never stop learning, of course, but I hope I do get to stop schooling at some point, haha.

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!

Sweater: American Eagle

Boots: Target

January 22, 2018 – Little Miss Grey Cloud (OOTD #207)

“On this grey Indiana day, you look so bright and colorful!” Shouted my friend, MaryKate, as she passed me on the way to class.

“Thanks!” I responded. “It totally matches my personality, how I feel on the inside, and is not at all ironic!”

If I actually dressed for how I felt every day, I probably would look like this – head to toe black, edgy hair color, sunglasses to avoid eye contact with people. But, as days like this one illustrate, I sometimes like to dress differently from how I actually regard myself. It switches things up, keeps things fresh, and prevents people from making generalizations about me too quickly.

That’s not to say I’m uncomfortable or somehow less genuine than usual when I dress brightly and colorfully – it’s just a different outfit, after all. The way I see it, fashion should be used for whatever you feel like doing with it, and, contrary to what a lot of people seem to think, it doesn’t always have to be about self-expression. Sometimes it’s more about self-creation – with each unique outfit, creating new identity, slipping out of yesterday’s personality and into some new character each morning.

In a roundabout way, maybe that is a form of self-expression – an expression that fashion can be both a reflection of your identity and a costume to try out different versions of your identity with. It’s a mirrored shield.

That, or maybe I’ve just too much time reading my philosophy textbook, and I’m trying to turn this into my next essay. This should at least be worth a little extra credit though, right?

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!

Coat: Target

Sweater: Forever21 (thrifted)

Skirt: Pitaya

January 12, 2018 – Snow Place Like Home (OOTD #200)

It finally happened! We got snow in Kentucky!

It didn’t really do much for me personally, as I headed back to school at Notre Dame a few days after it fell, and if there’s anything we in Northern Indiana are accustomed to, it’s snow. That and corn fields.

Kentuckians, on the other hand, are significantly less familiar with that white fluffy stuff that falls from the sky – in fact, I’m pretty sure we see more falling cotton from the cottonwood trees than snowflakes.

Winter has always been my favorite season in Kentucky because it’s fairly mild. Not so mild that it doesn’t feel like winter at all, like what you get in warm places like Florida or California, but not so bitter cold that you get tired of it quickly. Snow in Kentucky is a pleasant rarity – the sort of thing that you only get a few times a year so it never outstays its welcome.

Though, once, my sophomore of high school, it rather did outstay its welcome, and I wound up staying home from school for weeks. I think I only went to classes a few days out of the entire month of February (which is, interestingly, why February is now my favorite month). That’s fairly unusual though; Kentucky snow is usually either only a slight dusting, so little that it barely impacts anything, or when it is more substantial, it’s gone within a few days.

Life at Snotre Dame has yet to kill my love of snow and winter weather – though it was getting a touch old by the end of last semester. I have months to go before the start of spring, so I hope that my favoritism for the cold stays around. If it doesn’t, I don’t see how I’m going to manage to stay around campus.

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!

Jacket: American Eagle

Sweater: Altar’d State

Skirt: Forever21

Shoes: Target