August 6, 2019 – The Suite Life on Deck (OOTD #540)

*blog post features no actual images of me on the cruise ship

I’ve never been on a cruise before.

This trip has been full of firsts — first time in South America, first time snorkeling, first time on a cruise. Unlike snorkeling, though, I’ve actually really enjoyed cruise ship life. Unlike South America, though, as much as I enjoyed it I wouldn’t necessarily go and do it again immediately.

I liked the cruise, and I would definitely do one again eventually if given the opportunity. I really appreciated how everything was taken care of for you — there was someone to pick you up at the airport and guide you to the boat, there was someone to carry your bags to your room as soon as you got on board, there was a chef and full kitchen staff so all you had to do was show up in the dining room at meal times. It’s what I imagine vacation for rich people is like.

But since everything is taken care of for you, there’s a lot less autonomy on your part in deciding what to do each day. The boat might offer a range of options — snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, etc. — but they’re still the boat’s options. There’s no such thing as deciding you don’t like any of their options and going off on your own.

There’s also a lot of just waiting on the boat as you travel from one island to another. In principle, I don’t like that — who wants to spend half of their day in transit? But in practice, it was actually kind-of nice to have a built-in rest period during the day. I took a lot of much-needed naps.

Gratefully, I didn’t have trouble at all with seasickness. I’ve been on boats before, but only for a few hours at a time — not for a whole week. I wasn’t sure how my body would react. Turns out, it didn’t really react at all. Sometimes, if I looked out at the window and saw the waves rushing by, I’d feel dizzy, but otherwise, I faired surprisingly well. Honestly, the worst was getting off the boat at the end of the week. I felt like everything was rocking back and forth for days afterwards.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my trip to the Galápagos Islands 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: Amazon

Shorts: H&M

Hat: Target

June 15, 2019 – Not Florida (OOTD #518)

Wait, this isn’t Naples, Florida.

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wait, this isn’t florida

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I’ve actually never been to Naples, Florida. I haven’t actually traveled much around Florida, despite it being the go-to vacation destination for every family that lived south of the Mason-Dixon line from about 2006-2015. I’ve seen Orlando and Destin and Panama City Beach, but otherwise, that’s about it. Don’t tell anyone from Florida, but I don’t actually like Florida that much.

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mall rat

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So while I’ve never been to Naples, Florida to compare it to Naples, Italy, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Naples, Italy (also known as Napoli in Italian) is the better of the two. If you’ve been to both and have an opinion, feel free to fact check me.

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twisted my ankle twice on these streets

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As I discussed in my post about my trip to Florence, Northern and Southern Italy have extremely distinct cultures, a distinction that even I, an uncultured American, noticed in comparing Florence and Rome (both of which are actually more Central than Northern or Southern). Naples, the southernmost location I visited in Rome (and furthermore, considered by many to be emblematic of what makes the South of Italy unique compared to Central and Northern Italy) blew the Florence-Rome comparison out the water.

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i’m having a moment

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Naples was very different — both from Rome and Florence, but especially Florence. It’s like comparing a gated community with a private school that Felicity Huffman paid for her children to go to, to the neighborhood that Kelley Williams-Bolar falsified her address in order to prevent her children from having to school in. Can you guess if Naples is the Felicity Huffman or the Kelley Williams-Bolar?

In fact, when I returned to Rome from Naples, the first thing a friend said to me was “Oh, you didn’t get mugged! I guess you didn’t get an authentic tour.”

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not a bad view

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Actually, I don’t think Naples is as bad as its reputation. Sure, it was a little sketchy, especially that first night after I arrived after sundown and had to find the AirBnB. And the beach weren’t the cleanest. And one half of our friend group got kicked out of their hotel room after it turned out that they’d booked through a fraudulent website. At least the roads were better than Rome’s — no twisted ankles for me!

Plus, Naples had a beautiful castle — the Castel dell’Ovo, “the castle of the egg.” Don’t ask me why it’s called that. I don’t know (though I’m certain it was explained on one of the signs, I couldn’t read them as they were all in Italian). It was beautiful though, and I got some sweet photos on the way up.

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sea you around

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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!


Outfit 1:

Swimsuit top: Hollister

Swimsuit bottom: Target

Outfit 2:

Top: Zara

Shorts: H&M

April 16, 2019 – Not My Library (OOTD #495)

I’ve always been a library person.

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kresge beats hesburgh any day of the week

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I have fond memories of visiting both the local public library and my school library as a kid. I loved reading, and so any opportunity I got to get more books, I took eagerly.

The library near my house was tiny — literally two rooms and then an upstairs floor. I’m not certain of its history, but I think it may have originally been an old house that was converted into a library. If you go and visit today, you can still see a picture of three year-old me in the brochures for their children’s nature club programming.

Now that I’m older, libraries have a completely different meaning. I rarely ever check out books for fun anymore; I just don’t read like I did as a kid. Even so, I think I’ve spent more time in libraries since beginning university than I ever did when I was younger.

Now, the library is my go-to place for studying. Notre Dame has several, but one of my favorites is the law library. It’s easily the most beautiful of the libraries (Hesburgh, though the most famous and iconic, is actually kind-of ugly on the inside), and there’s plenty of light and space to spread out.

It’s not common for ND undergrads to spend time in the law school though, so I try not to draw much attention to myself when I go. It’s not like I’d get thrown out if anyone knew I’m not a law student, but I like for people to think I’m supposed to be there.

Because one day, I’d like to be someone who’s supposed to be there. Maybe not at Notre Dame’s law school building, but someone’s. It seems fitting to try to get some experience acting like a law student.

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.

 


 

Turtleneck: The LOFT (thrifted, Goodwill)

Skirt: Target

November 21, 2018 – Short Girl, Tall Grass (OOTD #411)

I love to get pictures in this spot at the park by my home.

If you’ve been keeping track, I’ve used this location for photos many times — here and here, for example. Perhaps you’ve also noticed that the photos from the two linked blogs are definitively summer- and winter-themed. It makes sense then that this one is so fall-themed, right?

There’s something about standing in the tall grass that makes a photo look adventurous and whimsical. Throw a dramatic filter on top of that, and you’ve got a background worth a Lord of the Rings elf cosplay.

Realistically, though, I suppose I’m more of a hobbit than an elf. I’m short, lazy, and like to eat. Just call me a Baggins.

I suppose I also like the tall grass because there is no tall grass on Notre Dame’s campus. Why would there be? It’s a university campus, where everything, including the landscaping, is always neat and manicured. You hardly even see leaves on the ground in the fall.

So when I go to a park that has more “natural”-looking landscaping, even if it is only a little patch of unmowed grass around a small wetland, it’s a welcome sight. It’s little things like that that I hardly notice that I miss when I’m at school, but that I realize I really appreciate when I go home.

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

Dress: Target

Sweater: Vintage (thrifted: Street Scene Vintage)

Shoes: Target

November 14, 2018 – Darker Days (OOTD #408)

Really not a fan of this whole time change thing.

I know I’m not the only one to say this, but really — what’s the point of daylight savings anymore? Contrary to Thomas Jefferson’s vision, we are not a nation of independent farmers, and we haven’t been for well over a hundred years. I’m open to the idea that there are many professions out there still that rely upon the sun to determine their hours, but their numbers are comparatively few to what they used to be. I feel like we could scrap daylight savings and still function pretty well as a society.

I like the extra hour of sleep that I get in November, but I don’t like how dark it gets and so early. I took a nap today at 5pm, and when I woke up at 7:30pm, it was pitch black. It made me wonder if I’d accidentally slept for too long and it was now like, midnight.

Additionally, I volunteer at the homeless shelter in the evenings, and I take the bus to get there. Before the time change, I had no problem walking to the stop after my shift ended at 6pm, but now that it’s dark so early, I feel a little less safe walking through that part of town at night.

Perhaps the worst offense to me, though, is how the time difference affects my ability to get OOTD pics in the evening. I used to rely upon getting dinner with friends at 6pm on Mondays and Wednesdays as my opportunity to ask someone to get pictures for me. Up until daylight savings, this worked perfectly for me. Now though, I wind up with dark pics like this — not bad, per se, especially with editing, but not really what I’m going for either. I’m a fashion blog, I want people to see my clothes. It’s difficult to do that when the only light in a photo is a street lamp and my iPhone flash.

Is #firstworldproblems still a thing? If it’s not, it should be. It’s consistently relevant to my life.

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!

Top: Forever21

Skirt: The LOFT

Hat: Target

October 30, 2018 – Pre-Halloween (OOTD #400)

The day? Halloween. The socks? Spooky.

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the day? halloween. the socks? spooky.

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I know I’m really behind with these OOTD posts (it being late November and I’m just now posting a blog for Halloween) but I’m hoping to get a little more caught up soon. I haven’t been taking pictures necessarily every day recently in anticipation of catching up, so hopefully, if I keep on posting blogs everyday, I’ll eventually get a little less behind.

Anyway, I know this is late, but happy Halloween! I have two Halloween-themed outfits for you: this one and tomorrow’s. Like last year’s Halloween outfits, the October 30 outfit is colorful and features the ghost socks and the October 31 outfit is black and sparkly. The black sparkly one will be tomorrow’s post.

I’ve had these socks for ages, since maybe 6th grade. I think my mother got them for me from Target. I didn’t wear them much back then because I thought they looked too childish, but now that I’m older, I realize that I was being stupid. These are lovely socks.

It’s not like I have a lot of other Halloween pieces to wear, anyway. Everyone has Christmas sweaters but no one has Halloween sweaters. Since I don’t really go out and get dressed up anymore, I’ve got to celebrate Halloween with some kind of festive fashion, even if I can’t do a costume and trick or treating anymore.

I really do miss trick or treating. Now, all anyone my age does is go out and party. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but I wish we could party and trick or treat. I don’t miss the candy, but I miss going out and walking around at night and seeing all the decorations.

Notre Dame doesn’t decorate for Halloween. I guess I shouldn’t expect them to, but with all that gothic architecture…it’s definitely a missed opportunity. Can you imagine a giant spiderweb draped across Touchdown Jesus? Seriously Father Jenkins…get on 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 at home. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: Hollister

Top: Hot Topic

Skirt: Forever21

Socks: Target

September 17, 2018 – Transition Fashion (OOTD #377)

It feels weird tagging this with “fall” when it looks so much like a summer outfit.

I guess the colors are kind-of fall. Otherwise though, my bare shoulders and bare legs give away how warm it was.

South Bend weather is weird — it goes from boiling hot to freezing cold within a few days, and then back again. I don’t mind, actually, except for the fact that the sudden transition dries my skin out really badly. It’s just a little weird trying to figure out how to dress.

The sudden transitions are excellent for making the leaves change colors, though, or so I’ve heard. I don’t understand the science behind it, but apparently, warm days and cold nights make for beautiful fall colors.

This is my favorite time of year in South Bend. The summers are too humid, the winters are too long, and the springs are too short, but the falls are legitimately amazing. For all of the times I’ve complained about the Midwest — the accents, the wind, the miles and miles of cornfields — I do love the autumn season.

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!

Top: Target

Skirt: Target

August 24, 2018 – Upon the Football Field (OOTD #357)

Whoops, looks like I did that thing again where I accidentally posted my blogs out of order.

It’s a rare occurrence (sarcasm), but sometimes, I do make mistakes with this whole blogging thing — skipping posts, posting things out of order, not posting for days on end, etc. Thankfully, due to the fact that I am a 99.9% perfect creature, these mistakes are relatively rare. This just happens to be part of that .1% of times where I’m flawed.

Of course, I’m kidding — I make loads of mistakes with blogging. It’s a hobby of mine, not a profession, so I don’t feel the need to apply my normal perfectionistic eye to every post. My following is relatively small, so there’s no one there to see if I fail — which is just the right kind of low pressure environment that I love.

The tl;dr of it all — I posted August 26’s blog before August 24’s. Sue me.

August 24 was actually a pretty fun day. Classes had just begun, I wasn’t swimming in homework like I feel like I am now, and I could kind of just enjoy being on a college campus without the stress of actual college. It was the first Friday of the school year, and, as is tradition, there was a showing of the film Rudy on the football field.

I mostly just went for the opportunity to take photos on the football field. I mean, I’ve seen Rudy before — I even saw it last year as a part of the same Friday Flicks series. I can see Rudy whenever I want, but this is is the only time during the year where I’m actually able to walk out onto the football field. Honestly, maybe it’s just the rarity of the opportunity that makes it exciting for me. Otherwise, it’s just a football field.

Don’t let anyone know that I think it’s just a football field though — I don’t need the Notre Dame secret police catching me and getting me expelled. Rumor has it, Father Jenkins has ears everywhere.

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 Potre Lame. 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: Target

Bralette: Aerie

Pants: American Eagle

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