July 12, 2018 – Rained Out (OOTD #329)

I guess I should be grateful that it took this long until the rain got in the way of our plans.

It’s monsoon season in Nepal, meaning of course that rain is a constant threat. Up until this point, though, the rain’s been no trouble — it comes while we’re in class, or while we’re still getting up in the morning, and then it goes. It always returns the next day, but that’s not really a problem as long as it doesn’t come in the afternoon when we want to go out.

Today though, it turned out to be a problem. It came at night, and it came hard. Two major roads that connect Dhulikhel to Kathmandu flooded, leaving us stuck at our hotel for the morning.

And part of the afternoon, actually — we ended up lazing around the lodge until quite late in the day. The roads ended up clearing though around mid-afternoon, and we finally made it into the city.

We went to a shopping district which specialized in fair trade stores and…really expensive saris? We went with the intent of checking out the fair trade stuff (some of which was made in the factory we’d toured the day before), but as it turned out, there were a ton of sari shops in the area too. I wish I could have bought something, but it was all way too expensive for my poor wallet.

From there, we wandered around the town  little bit — saw some monkeys, saw a river, choked on pollution — you know, local things. It was probably one of the most relaxed days I had in Kathmandu, or as relaxed as a day in Kathmandu could be. I was almost hit by a car like five separate times, rather than ten.

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 Nepal. 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!

Skirt: The LOFT

top: some boutique in Kathmandu

July 9, 2018 – A Developing Building In A Developing Country (OOTD #326)

Hey look, I’m back!

Whoops, looks like I accidentally took a three-day hiatus from this whole daily blogging thing (again). It’s like I’m flawed or something.

Anyway, let’s jump right back into the Nepal adventures — it’s day nine in Nepal, and I’m back in Dhulikhel after a day trip to Kathmandu. Dhulikhel, for as different as it is from suburban America, is beginning to grow old after having been here for a over a week. It’s in Nepal, which is exciting and exotic, but it’s still a small town in Nepal. Small towns only have so much to do.

So here’s what Dhulikhel had for me — a temple, momo’s, and an unfinished building.

First up, the temple. It was…a temple. I’m not sure what else there is to say about it — sure it’s totally different from anything I get to see in my normal life at Notre Dame or in Kentucky, but at this point, I’d seen dozens of Nepali temples. With the exception of some of the bigger ones in Kathmandu, the smaller ones like this were beginning to run together.

The South Asian students with me were also not terribly excited by the temples either, on account of them being pretty used to seeing them all the time around there own home towns. I got a few photos, and then we moved on.

After walking aimlessly as we so often do during these afternoon walks in Nepal, we ended up coming across a restaurant in a field.

Does that sound weird? A restaurant in a field? Well, that’s what it was. It was off the road a little bit, and just sitting there by itself in a field, no other buildings around.

With such a strange location for a restaurant, we of course had to go up and order something. My friend, Haya, was craving french fries, and I was interested in trying momo’s, a Nepali dish similar to Chinese dumplings (spoiler alert: Chinese dumplings are way better).

While sitting at the table waiting on our food, my friend, Elsa, spotted an unfinished building sitting nearby the field that looked abandoned. With nothing else to do, we decided to explore.

There wasn’t really much to explore, in truth. The building appeared to have been begun, but never finished, so there was little to see except the foundation and framework of what it was to be. We got a nice view of the sunset from the second floor — but I’m pretty sure I’ve wound up with a pretty view of the sunset almost every day I’ve been in Nepal from the various locations I’ve ventured to. Pretty views are pretty much just the normal, everyday views here.

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 Nepal. 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

Pants: H&M

July 7, 2018 – I Fell Down A Mountain (OOTD #324)

Oops.

I’m going to cut straight to the moral of the story, here — don’t wear a tea-length skirt hiking in the Kathmandu Valley.

I don’t know how or why anyone would be stupid enough to do that — in fact, I myself am still a little hazy on the details as to how I ended up in a skirt to go hiking. I guess I was hoping to spare the pink trousers I had worn earlier in the day from getting dirty by wearing something I’d already worn and was thus already dirty. It didn’t work. That skirt was plenty dirty by the time we were done.

That’s why we’ve got two very distinct outfits and backgrounds featured in this blog — there was the outfit I wore to class during the day, and then the (poorly chosen) outfit I changed into in the afternoon to go hiking in. Honestly, I should have just stayed in the outfit I went to classes in — it ultimately would have been more practical than the skirt I went with.

After session, a group of us decided to go out, as per usual. We had no particular goal in mind, just wanted to get out of the hotel for a while and stretch our legs. For some reason, I assumed this meant a stroll around town.

What it ended up being was probably the most intense physical activity I did the entire time I was in Nepal. I mean, I’m used to walking, and I’m used to hiking, but I’m not used to sliding down a mountain on my ass in a tea-length skirt. That’s a new one for me.

The nice thing was that after a very steep decline to get down to the main path, the rest of the walk was fairly easy — just a gentle sloping road. It was simply a matter of getting up and down.

Like I said, I slipped and slid most of my way down, leaving myself coated in mud and with a weird rash on my palm from grabbing some plant that I guess I shouldn’t have in order to try to stabilize myself after tripping for the 20th time. ‘Twas an adventure.

We did get to see some cool views of the valley though, and made some stray dog friends who followed us most of the way begging for food. It was a good time, albeit a muddy one.

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 Nepal. 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: Altar’d State

Trousers: The LOFT

July 4, 2018 – This Isn’t America (OOTD #321)

Once again, I’m out of the country for the 4th of July.

This is the second year in a row that I’ve been away for Independence Day — last year I was in the air flying to London, and this year, I’m in Nepal for a religious studies conference. Will I ever get to just relax at home with some barbecue and enjoy my city’s small fireworks display?

Whether I do or not, I wouldn’t have traded a day in the US for the day I had on July 4 in Nepal. There were no fireworks, no parades, no 4th of July sales, and no Americana-themed outfits (though I guess you could argue that my top is blue with white stars, kinda like the flag), but what I got to do instead was even better.

Once again, I spent most of my time sitting in class during the conference session, and only afterwards did I get to go out and explore Nepal. And once again, I decided to head up the mountain and go into town and see what there was to see.

This time, I went out with my two roommates, Elsa and Haya, and Haya’s friend, Sadiq. With no particular vision or plan in mind, we started walking.

After climbing through some brush off the main road, the first sight we came across was a nice view of some rice fields at the base of a hill. I guess to anyone who lives in Asia, the sight of rice fields isn’t really anything to write home about, but for me, it was cool. Plus, the lighting was good, so I got some good photos.

From there, we went into the old part of town. Or at least, I think it was the old part of town? There were no signs that I could read, or people whom I could ask, but after walking past several more “contemporary” (quotation marks because I don’t really mean it as an architecture style, but more as a description of the age of the buildings) shops and houses, the road grew narrower and the designs seemed to grow more traditional.

In the US, traditional might mean Victorian or colonial style homes. In Nepal, though, traditional seems to mean more ornamental — for lack of a better word, oriental. To me, an American who doesn’t really see much oriental architecture, it was really cool to see.

While in the old section of town, we came across a temple. I’m not sure if it was Buddhist or Hindu — like I said, I had no ability to read signs or ask locals — but at any rate, it was neat. It didn’t seem to be in use as a religious site, at least at the time when we visited, but more of a local hangout. Some kids played football around the courtyard, and friends sat on the steps and chatted.

At the top of the steps leading up to the temple, there was even a nice view of the town of Dhulikhel. It would’ve been the perfect place to set off some 4th of July fireworks — you know, if I had them.

Overall, it was a less than conventional Fourth of July — but not less than fun. In fact, I think it beats my average Fourth of July activities (i.e. shopping the sales at the mall.)

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 Nepal. 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: The LOFT

July 2, 2018 – A Foggy Memory (OOTD #319)

I swear, there were mountains here yesterday.

I’ve seen a lot of fog in my life, but never like this. It’s so dense that you literally cannot see the giant green mountains all around but only the thick white curtain of mist — it’s a little disorienting. I feel like I’m in a video game with a bad draw distance.

Also, apparently these giant green mounds of earth that I’ve been referring to as “mountains” are not, to the Nepali locals, mountains, but rather, big hills. Apparently, it’s only a mountain if it’s capped with snow. I guess I can’t really argue with the locals, but to my sore knees that regret the hike I did down the “big hill,” it certainly feels more like a mountain.

After classes, a group of us decided to venture further down (what I’m going to call) the mountain and see what there was to see. Despite still struggling with jet lag and low-key wanting a nap (though I did get four hours the previous night instead of two! Yay!), the FOMO got the best of me and I decided to go. If the other Notre Dame students were going to go out and do some bonding, then I was too.

Unfortunately, the only shoes I brought for walking in were my running shoes, which are just fine for the relatively simple hiking I do in Kentucky, but apparently not fine for the Kathmandu Valley. While a lot of the trail is pretty easy, in parts where it’s rocky or particularly steep, I found myself having to grasp hold of whatever trees or plants were around in order to keep my balance. While there weren’t really any places where feared careening off the side of a cliff, I did fear falling in the wrong way and twisting my ankle.

While I suspect the views down the way would be even more spectacular on a clearer day, they were still pretty beautiful to my eyes, which have really only ever seen mountains in the form of Appalachia. Along the trail, there was not a whole lot to see — some houses, with local people doing housework like hanging up clothes to dry or weeding their garden, and some stray dogs. I mean, it was still leagues away from the suburban American neighborhoods I am used to seeing, but after the initial shock wears off, a hut is still just a hut, even if it is very different from the kind of homes I am familiar with.

Once again, though, we did not make it far down the side of the mountain before the sky started getting dark and it was time to go home. Despite the increased physical strain of the climb, I still found it easier going up. I’d much rather strain my leg muscles trying to maintain my stamina going up a hill than strain my brain trying to maintain my balance going down.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get to make it down to the village that’s supposedly at the bottom of this mountain; I just don’t think there’s enough time or enough daylight given the scheduling of the conference. I guess tomorrow, I’ll go up the mountain and into the city and see what there is to see there.

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 Nepal. 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!

Pants: The LOFT

Top: The tiny clothing section of my local Kroger

June 25, 2018 – Plants, Plants, Plants (OOTD #312)

Hey guys, have I told you I like plants?

You might have gotten a sense of it over time — the Saturday Musings + Plants posts, the frequent use of plants as a background, the incorporation of cut flowers into flatlays and even some OOTDs.

I’ll spare you the full story about how my plant obsession began, since I’ve already detailed it in blogs here before. The short version is that when I began college, I had one cactus. Now, I have probably 20 or 30 cacti, succulents, and leafy plants.

Anyway, now that I’m a plant person, I find that just seeing plants while I’m out is very exciting. I’ll look at plants in nurseries, plants in other people’s gardens. in florist shops, in malls — if there are plants, I’m probably checking them out and trying to figure out what kind it is and if it’s being cared for well.

If there are succulents, I’m also probably trying to see if there are any leaves that have fallen that I can try to propagate! Now, I never break leaves off of living plants — that would be like stealing — but if something has fallen already, I see no problem with taking them. They’d probably have just been thrown away anyway.

So pro tip: if you want some new succulents but don’t want to pay for them, take some leaves from a home and garden store and propagate them into baby plants!

That’s what I was doing here in these photos: checking to see if there were any leaves to steal. I have a little tray of propagating succulents sitting in my windowsill that I’ve gathered from Kroger and Home Depot, so I didn’t really need any more, but I love to look. It’s the same feeling I get as when I shop at Goodwill, like the joy of the hunt or whatever.

I also got some shots with the bright yellow door of the grocery store, simply because I liked the color. I’m afraid I don’t have an entire blog’s worth of a story for that though.

 

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

Pants: The LOFT

June 23, 2018 – Color Scheming (OOTD #310)

As those of you who follow my Instagram might know, I am very careful about maintaining a particular color order of my posts.

This is how it works — I post nine photos, usually three each day (or at least, the goal), that all have a very strong color story of a particular color. These nine photos form a square on my feed, allowing that entire block of pictures to be perceived as that color when someone scrolls through my profile. I go in rainbow order order, i.e, I post a block of nine bluish photos, followed by nine greenish photos, and so on.

Here’s what’s great: it makes my feed appear very colorful, and transitions from one color to another is fairly easy because I always know the order of what should come next. 

Here’s what’s not great:  certain colors are much harder than others to get nine photos that all work together. For example, green is a very easy color scheme — I just have to get photos that incorporate a lot of foliage or grass. On the other hand, pink or purple is very difficult, as there is not much in the natural world or the manmade that is predominantly pink and purple.

So when I do come across a pink wall or a big purple bush, I get excited because it means I have good content for my Instagram feed. That’s where today’s outfit comes in.

I had worn this outfit to my internship in Frankfort, not really putting any thought into it beyond the fact that I wanted something nice to wear because I had a naturalization ceremony to attend. Actually, I felt a little underdressed for the ceremony, like I should have worn something a little nicer than a cardigan and trousers — but that’s not important to the story.

The point is, the outfit I chose to wear had nothing to do really with my whole Instagram color scheme strategy. I hadn’t even been sure I would do outfit photography that day, since it’s not like it was a special outfit or a special occasion. 

My mind was changed though, when my parents and I decided to go to Red Robin for dinner that night, and i came across this pinkish-purple wall. My otherwise uninteresting outfit then became the perfect subject for the background, as the colors worked well together. 

But actually, I’m beginning now to question whether I ought to continue with this color scheme Instagram plan. It’s a lot of work to organize, and results in me doing things like I did with this outfit where I am forced to restrict myself to particular colors and backgrounds. I feel like there has to be a better way to create a coherent, visually appealing feed without limiting my creativity in this way, you know? 

If you have any suggestions, please let me know! I know a lot of my readers are bloggers themselves, so I’d love it if you could share your Instagram organization strategies with me in the comments. 

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: The LOFT

Top: Forever21

Pants: J Crew

June 19, 2018 — The Blues (OOTD #306)

Get ready, because you’re about to see about a week-worth of blue outfits.

I’m not really sure how it happened, but for some reason, I wound up wearing several predominantly blue outfits all in a row. I guess you could say I was feeling a little blue? 😉

Maybe it was a residual effect of Father’s Day — my dad’s favorite color is blue, to the point that the vast majority of his shirts are blue (though to be fair, he’s getting much better now that my mother and I have mentioned his blue fixation), so perhaps I was just following his example.

I don’t really have a proper explanation. The last time I wore this much blue was probably the 2014 March Madness when the University of Kentucky won the college basketball championship, though that was more of a royal blue shade. My point being, it’s not like blue’s my favorite color, or I have a greater number of blue clothes in my wardrobe than any other color.

Sometimes, things like that just happen in fashion — you wear several similar style shirts in a row, or you wear the same pair of shoes with every outfit (I know I definitely do this!) or you wear all one particular color. For me, what’s important is that I recognize that I’m getting stagnant and make an effort to switch things up.img_0770

Today’s outfit, though, was blue, if only because my shawl (Is that the best word for it? It’s not a jacket…it’s not a sweater…) was. Isn’t it interesting that a single colored piece of clothing in an otherwise neutral ensemble can make the entire outfit read as colored?

For real though, if someone has a proposal for what to call this blue sheer-top thing, I’m all ears. I’ve had it since my New York trip my senior year of high school, and it’s traveled with me all the way to London (in fact, it even made it to Buckingham Palace, the Pride Festival, and Platform 9 3/4), and I still don’t really know what I should refer to it as. I wasn’t even sure that I was going to buy it at first, since it’s not even my size and thus doesn’t fit the way it’s “supposed” to, at least in the designer’s mind. It was on sale though, so I went for it. Guess it was a good buy.

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!

Shawl thing: Forever21

Skirt: The LOFT

May 29, 2018 – Playground Fashion (OOTD #294)

We’re getting awfully close to OOTD post #300, aren’t we?

My post upload schedule has been sketchy at best recently, but hey, at least it still exists! Just a few more days, and I think we’re due for OOTD #300. Amazing.

You know what’s not amazing? The 90+ degree weather we’ve been getting these last few days in Kentucky.

I know it’s summer, and I know it’s the South, and so I should really be used to this heat by now, but I’m just not.

I imagine the reason why I’m not used to the weather yet is because I insist upon dressing in turtlenecks in late May, even though it’s already oppressively hot and humid outside. Some little voice in my head tells me that that might be the reason why I can’t stand the heat, but I don’t pay attention to it. I mean, it can’t be my fault that I’m uncomfortable when I dress completely inappropriately for the weather, right?

In fairness, the office I work in during the day is pretty chilly, and I spent most of my time sitting or standing idly, so it doesn’t make sense to dress for summer weather in the way I might want to. I can freeze in my office or burn in the couple of moments when I have to go outside, so between the two, I’d rather brave the brief heat.

Besides, shaving every day is also a major hassle. But like…my unwillingness to do that every day definitely doesn’t have anything to do with dressing in long sleeves on hot days. Nope, no way.

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: The LOFT (thrifted)

Skirt: Forever21

May 24, 2018 – How To Wear a Maxi Skirt as a Mini Person (OOTD #290)

Call me mini, fun-sized, hobbit-like, or petite, the fact of the matter is, I am very short.

Bar a brief period in second grade when my fellow peers’ growth patterns just happened to result in me being average-sized, I have always been very small for my age. Mostly, though, that doesn’t bother me. Being small gives me an extra cute-ness factor, which, at least for now, I appreciate.

What I don’t appreciate, though, is clothes that are made for tall people. There’s nothing wrong with being tall — some days I envy those with height — but the reality of the situation is that I simply cannot wear some kinds of clothing because of my height. I like being short, but I don’t like looking disproportional, and not everything is going to be flattering on me.

Thankfully, just because I can’t wear every shape and style of clothing doesn’t mean I can’t find a way to make most things work. If there’s a trend that you like, but that you don’t think will work for you, chances are you can still incorporate that style into your wardrobe — the key is simply to find the one piece of the particular style that works for your body. Even if not everything works, something still must, right?

For my trip to Nepal later this summer, I’m required to wear loose-fitting pants and skirts that cover at least my calves, so I’ve been experimenting with more modest styles that will be compatible with the fashion there. Unfortunately, as a petite woman, long, loose skirts and pants don’t always look flattering on me, instead making my legs look even shorter than they already are.

The solution I have found to wearing a maxi skirt as a mini person is a high-waisted skirt paired with a form-fitting top, creating the illusion of longer legs and a skinner waist. It’s also important for me to ensure that the skirt doesn’t have too much volume, or else I just look like a cupcake (a look which, while cute for my high school prom, I don’t know if I’d want to do on the daily).

In the end, though, my best piece of advice is just to try stuff on. I know it can be discouraging to keep trying on clothes that don’t look flattering, but if you don’t try, you won’t know what will work for you. If you’re willing to put the effort in, chances are, something is bound to work.

What kinds of styles do you guys find to be tricky for your unique body shape? What tips do you have for making that style work for you? Let me know in the comments below!

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: Forever21

Skirt: The LOFT