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

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

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

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

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

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what’s up, billy penn

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

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how enlightening

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

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

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

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

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bye, usa

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Next stop: Rome, Italy!

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Jacket: H&M

Top: The LOFT

Leggings: The LOFT

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

February 8, 2019 – Squeaky Boots (OOTD #452)

I don’t know what I did, but these shoes have been squeaking incessantly.

And I don’t mean like, a quiet, muffled squeal. I don’t know if I’d call them so much as “squeaks” as “shrieks” — because they are loud, they are obnoxious, and they make people stare at me as I walk by because every step I take sounds like I am crushing mice underfoot.

If you watched too much Spongebob as a kid like me, then maybe you’re reminded of the season one episode where Mr. Krabs gives Spongebob squeaky boots, and Spongebob proceeds to annoy the hell out of everyone in Bikini Bottom by squeaking everywhere he goes. That’s basically what I’ve felt like whenever I wear these shoes — a squeaky, annoying Spongebob.

And with all of the yellow I’ve been wearing lately, I think my transformation into Spongebob Squarepants is almost complete. I just need a Krusty Krab hat and a spatula now.

In reality, of course, I think I’d probably be more like a Squidward — a tired, easily-irritable grump overly-convinced of their artistic talent. Maybe I’m a Squidward with squeaky boots?

At any rate, I think it’s time these shoes go in the trash. It’s a little unfortunate because that means that was the third pair of short black boots I’ve worn through (or lost) in the last year. I go through these things like Tic Tacs.

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: White House Black Market

Trousers: The LOFT

Squeaky shoes: I’m actually not sure. They’re in the trash now though, so if anybody wants me to ship them to them, I’ll dig them out for you.

February 4, 2019 – Legit (OOTD #449)

Apparently, I liked the law school because I went back.

There’s a nice environment in there. It’s quiet and studious and there’s a lot of good natural lighting. Consequently, that also makes it good for taking pictures for my blog.

This is actually right in front of a lecture hall. My hope was that all of the students were paying attention to the professor at the time, and not on the mysterious shadowy figure behind the wall of the classroom trying to take pictures of herself for her blog. There was a semi-transparent set of windows between us, so I don’t think anyone could see me, and even if they could…I guess it’s not like I’m going to know any of the law students.

I am sort-of running out of good locations to take pictures in the law building, however. It’s a pretty building, but it’s surprisingly not got a lot of places for pictures. I want to try the library sometime, but it’s always packed with students studying.

How dare the students study in the library, right? I just want to take pictures of my outfit without their interference. It’s so inconsiderate of them to get in the 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!


Sweater: The LOFT (sad story — this sweater actually got completely torn to shreds in the wash thanks to my dorm’s garbage washing machines immediately after I wore it! It may never appear on this blog again)

Skort: Zara Kids

January 23, 2019 – A Sense of Direction (OOTD #443)

How come the math building has become my favorite place to take pictures?

This time last year, you couldn’t drag me away from the art building. I would stay there for hours at night in the empty classrooms to do work, steal plants, and take pictures next to whatever random works of art struck my fancy.

This year, however, my 24 hour card access to the art building was revoked since I’m not in a studio art class anymore, so I almost never find myself going over there. If I set up camp before about 5pm in the evening and I don’t leave, I can stay — but I can’t open the door to get in if I want to go there late at night anymore, which is sad.

Since I’ve been forced to find another place to haunt, I’ve been trying to branch out and spend more time in other ND buildings that I wouldn’t otherwise hang out much in — like, for example, the math building. I’ve never had a math class at Notre Dame (shoutout to Mrs. Brooks and Mr. Young for helping me get a 5 on AP Calculus), and so it was never a building where I ventured. My first time I visited was actually last spring, when I went to take some pictures with my friends.

I actually do have a class in the math building this year (it’s a history class, though, interestingly), and so I’ve found myself in here a little more often. As it’s turned out, there are some really great places to get pictures.

These maps are in the same room as the big globe, which I’ve featured as a background on this blog before. I thought they were colorful and pretty and would make for a nice backdrop to my outfit, and since I’d used the globe before, I wanted to try something different. As the maps (and globe) also situated in a rather central location in the building, I had to be careful about not getting caught posing for pictures by anyone walking by (not that it’s like, illegal to take pictures of yourself for your fashion blog — but it is a little weird) , but otherwise, it was an easy place to use for pictures. Maybe I’ll feature these maps again.

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!


Jacket: Anthropologie

Sweater: The LOFT

Pants: Abercrombie (thrifted, yard sale)