October 14, 2019 – Pumpkin Spice (OOTD #565)

I know spooky season is long over, but I still have spooky season outfits to post about.

October 7, 2019 – Hitting the Books (OOTD #561)

Here’s another blog title I can’t believe I’ve never used for any of my many, many library photo shoots. 

It seems so obvious, right? Take pictures surrounded by books, come up with a book-related blog title. How many book-themed idioms are there anyway?

Apparently, not enough for my stupid idiot brain to remember them — hence, the need to “hit” the books so hard. Gotta study to make up for my general lack of brain cells.

But if this is a library photo shoot, what library is this? It’s not the familiar Club Hes or architecture library. I’m miles and miles from those. This is the library at my workplace — much smaller than any of the libraries back on campus, but honestly, maybe I like that. It’s almost never crowded, and I never have to fight someone to get a table like I do around midterms and finals at Notre Dame.

The downside, though, is there are a lot fewer places to take photos given the smaller location. I have 24 hour card access to the Brookings building (yay!) but there aren’t a lot of places that make for good photography backgrounds. There’s a nice lobby, but there’s always a security guard there, so it’s not a good place for photos. Otherwise, there’s the small library featured here and then just a bunch of offices.

What do you think — should I do a cubicle photo shoot? Pose with my landline telephone that I don’t know how to use? My broken roller chair? The leftover bag of trail mix that the last intern who had my desk left in the drawer?

Actually, maybe there’s a way I could make it work — kind of like the trendy unconventional photo shoots in laundry rooms or Hobby Lobby floral departments. Let me think 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 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: Zara

Turtleneck: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Skirt: Forever21

September 18, 2019 – Elle Woods Style (OOTD #564)

I feel weird even venturing to compare myself to Elle Woods — it feels almost sacrilegious.

Legally Blonde was one of the very first PG-13 movies I was allowed to watch with my mother. I can’t even remember how old I was — maybe fourth grade? But fourth grade-Meilin loved that movie — probably more than it deserved from an artistic standpoint. It’s a cute chick flick, sure, but it’s no cinematic masterpiece.

It was Legally Blonde and not Law and Order that glamorized the idea of being a lawyer for me. I’m sure both are wildly inaccurate depictions of the profession, but as a kid, I was way more drawn to the idea of wearing pink suits and carrying scented documents than I was to dramatic courtroom showdowns.

I’m not ready yet for the dramatic courtroom showdowns (I need to like…get into law school first), but, with my 9-5 internship, I have an excuse to wear cute professional outfits every day.

Herein lies the challenge — making my everyday professional outfits “cute.” It’s not hard to put on a pair of trousers and a blazer each morning; it’s hard to find a way to make a pair of trousers and a blazer unique and interesting when you wore basically the same thing the day before.

I’m learning, though. I’m discovering that the key to cute professional dressing is bright colors and fun accessories. If you’re relegated to wearing “work-appropriate” cuts and silhouettes, the best way to dress things up is to play up your color, pattern, and texture palette. I like wearing scarves and jackets to add layers to basics, like this plain blouse. A patterned skirt or sparkly necklace can help too.

I may not wear pink every day, but I at least try to dress as fashionably as possible, even for a boring day at the office desk. Elle Woods would approve.

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 (thrifted)

Skirt: The LOFT

Blouse: Forever21

September 12, 2019 – Order in the Court (OOTD #561)

I almost titled this “Supreme” in reference to the overpriced fast fashion company that everyone was super into for a hot minute in 2018, but I ultimately decided I disliked Supreme so much that I didn’t even want to give it a reference in a blog title.

After our class visit to the Capitol, our next stop was the Supreme Court. We’re making the rounds to the three branches of government, meaning the White House will get a post later in the semester.

If I had to choose one of the three main government buildings in DC to work in (the Capitol, the Supreme Court, or the White House) based on design alone, I think the Supreme Court would be my pick. The Capitol is huge and rather lacking in windows, and the White House just feels too much like a rich person’s house than an office building. I feel like the Supreme Court strikes a nice balance of austerity and beauty, though it too could use some more natural light.

I know these big important government buildings have to be secure so that no one can just shoot a Supreme Court Justice through a window or something, but there must be some way for them to not be so dark and cold. Maybe they could get some of those natural light bulbs that they use on plants.

To their credit though, at least they’re not in the brutalist style of some of the government agency headquarters here in DC, like the State Department or the FBI. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a building as ugly and sad-looking as the FBI — to be honest, I think that was the designer’s intent. Sure, the Capitol building could use more plants and windows, but I would say that about every structure that’s not an actual greenhouse, and those are nitpicks in comparison to some of the buildings that look like they come straight out of 1984 (the novel, not the year — in terms of years, they look more like 1964).

The Supreme Court tour my class went on was fairly short — as is the case with a lot of these tours of functioning government buildings, they won’t let you see a whole lot. We went before the court season began, so we didn’t get to see any proceedings, but they let us into the main courtroom to sit and look around for a minute. While it’s not a picture sitting in Justice Ginsberg’s chair while wearing a powdered wig, I did get this shot from the doorway, which is more than most people can say.

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!


Top: The LOFT

Skirt: River Island

July 13, 2019 – Eastern Kentucky or Croatia? (OOTD #531)

I think my favorite part of Croatia was just driving through the countryside.

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croatia or eastern kentucky?

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For some potentially explanatory context, I was hardly in a car at all for the entirety for my time in Europe. In Rome, I drove with some friends to a club once and once to the airport shuttle stop when I was about to leave. In Copenhagen and Budapest, I never even had the chance to get in a car if I’d wanted to. In comparison, back in the US, I’m in a car almost everyday, especially when I’m at home with my parents in Kentucky. It’s a little different when I’m on campus at Notre Dame, but for most parts of the US, you need a car to go anywhere, so you tend to spend a lot of time driving around places.

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over the castle on the hill

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So when I got to Croatia and I got to live with my friend’s cousin’s family, that was pretty much the first time I got to drive anywhere in over a month. And since they didn’t really live in the city (but rather, a small town called Samobor outside of Zagreb), we ended up driving a lot.

One day, we drove out about an hour outside of Samobor to a museum in the mountains where they’d found some Neanderthal remains. Being honest, the museum — or the restaurant we went to afterwards — wasn’t the most interesting part of the day. It was the drive through the Croatian countryside.

The Croatian countryside reminds me in a way of Eastern Kentucky. Lots of rolling hills and mountains with houses dotted along the road. It’s quiet and picturesque, though if you ask me, Croatia beats out Eastern Kentucky in the picturesque category. The people of the Croatian countryside are quite different from the people of the Kentuckian countryside, who very often seem to fit their stereotype of being “hillbillies.” It can be a bit hard to categorize Kentucky as picturesque when, among the rolling hills and green mountains, there are people who look like Colonel Sanders was their father.

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: Thrift

Jacket: H&M

Trousers: The LOFT

 

July 2, 2019 – Fashion, Fascism, and the Blue Danube Waltz (OOTD #524)

I’m a big fan of walking bridges.

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could you tell me the abridged version?

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And I think the Margaret Bridge in Budapest may be favorite yet. It connects Buda and Pest, the two halves of Budapest (clever naming, right?) across the Danube from each other. Walking, I’d say it takes maybe 15 or 20 minutes to cross.

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i see why johann strauss ii wrote a waltz

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The view either way is gorgeous, though I would personally say that looking out at the Pest side from Buda is a particular treat, as you can see both the Parliament Building and St. Stephen’s Basilica across the water.

In addition to a lovely walking bridge that stretches the Danube River, Budapest also has the oldest Metro line in mainland Europe (the award for oldest Metro in all of Europe goes to the London Underground), with Line M1 dating all the way back in 1896.

I actually had the pleasure of riding Line M1 for a brief commute with my friend Bilal, as he needed to go from his university in the downtown area to a neighborhood a ways away. Maybe is a quirk specific to me, but I love testing public transportation systems in new cities. I grew up in a city without one (well, I suppose they had city buses, but there were no stops near where I lived so it was irrelevant to me), and so visiting places that have a metro or a train system is super exciting to me.

Budapest’s M1 had such a vibe. It looked more like it came out of the 1960’s rather than the 1890’s, but I can’t pretend that I know exactly what 1890’s public transit design looks like. I feel like most rail systems feel like walking into a time capsule, but this one had an especially strong aesthetic.

The final stop of the day was a monument to the former communist (note the lowercase “c”) Hungarian Prime Minister and leader of the failed Hungarian Revolution, Imre Nagy.

Let me tell you a little about this monument, which I think may have been up there in the list of my favorite things I saw in all of Europe this summer: it’s some spectacularly subtle design. Or at least it was, until it was moved to its current location.

Originally, this statue was located in Liberty Square, a plaza with some highly-political, highly-contested statues and monuments. Among other, less debated pieces, one can find controversial (depending, of course, on your opinion of the subject matter) monuments to the Red Army, to Ronald Reagan, and to the victims of German occupation (which features a makeshift protest installation right next to it) there.

Up until January of this year, Imre Nagy was right alongside the others. He was near the monument to the Soviet Red Army, which is a controversial monument in and of itself. It is the only Soviet monument in Budapest that has been allowed to remain in its original location; all of the others were moved to a park well outside of the city after the fall of the USSR.

Nagy’s original placement near the monument to the Red Army was very intentional. His gaze was fixed on Parliament, with his back to the Red Army. As a leader of the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956, which attempted to drive out Soviet control following its establishment during the liberation of Hungary from Nazi occupation, this is of course rather symbolic. He looked away from fascism and totalitarianism and towards democratic governance. With his relaxed and non-confrontational but defiant stance, he made a clear political statement through a few purposeful, subtle design choices.

However, Nagy’s statue has been moved to a new location near Margaret Bridge next to the Danube. He still looks towards Parliament, but he no longer has his back directly to the Red Army, and he is no longer so centrally located.

Was his relocation a political statement as well? Did Viktor Orbán himself order the monument’s movement, as one of his many attempts at historical revisionism? I don’t know. I can only say that I don’t like that the statue was moved, as it takes away from its original meaning and artistic intent. It’s an offense to Imre Nagy, to Hungarian history, and to good design.

Anyway, that was more than I meant to say today about historical revisionism and Hungarian politics. In summary: more fashion, less fascism. 

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: The LOFT

Skirt: Forever21

June 24, 2019 – Vatican Vibes (OOTD #521)

Technically, I can now say I’ve walked across an entire country.

It took me a month and a half to make it to Vatican City. I was in Rome for a month and a half, and up until my final week there, I didn’t visit the Vatican. Several times, I made it to the outside walls or walked around the Vatican, but I never went in. Blasphemous, I know.

Well, I wasn’t about to spend a month and a half in Rome and never visit the Vatican, especially since visiting the Vatican would mean that I could technically claim to have been to yet another country. And that I could technically claim that I’d walked across an entire country. How’s that for an icebreaker fun fact?

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it’s not a tour, it’s a church search

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So one early morning before work, my friend, Yvette, and I decided to visit the Vatican and more specifically, St. Peter’s Basilica. She’d already been on a visit with one of her study abroad classes, but she wanted to visit again, and like I mentioned, I’d never been.

We got there early enough (maybe like, 7:30AM?) that we were able to avoid the crowds. If you can manage, I highly recommend you do the same — busy churches are the worst. Part of the allure of churches is that they’re quiet and peaceful; you can’t really get that experience if it’s crawling with visitors with cameras and selfie sticks. Not that there’s anything wrong with visitors with cameras and selfie sticks — I think people should be able to enjoy a place in any way that makes them happy, as long as they’re respectful of the people around them. I mean, I myself often am a tourist with a camera.

I didn’t bother to wait for an audience with the Pope, I didn’t tour the Gardens of Vatican City, and I didn’t go to see the Archives. Because I went in the morning before work, I didn’t have time to do anything other than visit St. Peter’s Basilica and the Square.

Just as I didn’t spend as much time in the Vatican as I would have wanted, I realized towards the end of my time in Rome that I hadn’t spent as much time in Rome as I probably should have. I only had six weeks — so, six weekends to spend doing fun things and exploring the city. Three out of those six weeks, I spent outside of Rome, in Florence, Naples, and Copenhagen. I’m so grateful to have been able to explore these cities in other parts of Italy and Europe, but I also realized that maybe I hadn’t devoted as much time to Rome itself as it deserved. I also realized that I hadn’t spent nearly as much time as I should have with the friends whom I’d made from the international student housing complex where I was living  — something I’ll definitely expand upon in my next blog.

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: The LOFT

Trousers: The LOFT

June 13, 2019 – Italian Cinema Star (OOTD #517)

The Notre Dame study abroad cultural enrichment activities strike again: this time, with a tour of Cinecittà Studios.

These little extracurricular tours have been great because they offer me the chance to see something that I likely would not have gone out of my way to see. Everyone wants to see the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Trevi Fountain — and so naturally, I did that on my own. In fact, I took a whole day off from work to do that.

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hollywood on the tiber

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A tour of an Italian movie studio is not something I probably would have taken a day off from work to do, unless I had something special in particular to motivate me. I know (well, now I know, thanks to the tour) that Cinecittà has been the filming location for many famous movies over its history, including Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday, and Cleopatra. The thing is, I haven’t seen any of those films.

I’m also just not much of a film person. I don’t like sitting still with all of my attention devoted to one screen for so long at a time. I tend to get bored, even in action-packed American films that are meant to keep children entertained for the whole duration. Slower, dialogue-heavy classic Golden Age films are even less captivating. Film, as an art form, just isn’t for me.

But the Notre Dame Global Gateway in Rome was offering free admission for a tour alongside some other students, and I’m glad I went. Even if I’m not into films of filmmaking, it was cool to see what an active movie studio looks like, especially the fully-assembled set of ancient Rome. The tour gave me an increased appreciation for cinema as an art.

I’m also not one to refuse free stuff — and I’m never one to refuse getting to spend time with other people (especially if they can take my picture with a model of ancient Rome used for production).

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: The LOFT

Skirt: Forever21

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