December 21, 2019 – Antique Shop Culture (OOTD #592)

I used to hate antique shops as a kid.

For one, my parents seemed to want to go all the time. Every time we went to a new city, we had to go to the flea market or the antique mall. I didn’t get it — what was so cool about looking at old junk? And furthermore, why, when we were in a new city or vacation spot, would we bother spending our time at an antique store that sold the same 1970s furniture as all of the other antique stores across the country?

Somewhere along the way in the last 21 years, though, I changed my tune on antique shops. Now, as a piece of old junk myself, I understand the appeal of looking at other pieces of old junk. I am an antique. I relate to antiques now.

I almost never buy anything either! I could spend all day and all of my bank account on vintage clothing, but other antiques — furniture, knick knacks, etc. — I almost never actually purchase. I can’t remember the last “antique” I actually bought. Maybe an old Polaroid camera that I keep on my bookshelf as a decoration?

On this antique shop trip, I didn’t buy anything either. Nonetheless, I had a great time — we went to a few places in Louisville with my grandmother and two New Jersey uncles, including the famous Jo Ley Antiques (which is now closed, unfortunately) and a place called Architectural Salvage, which I’d never been to before.

Architectural Salvage was a great place to visit. I didn’t buy anything, and in fact, the things they sold weren’t really my style (lots of tools and furniture and furniture parts), but it was worth the visit just for the location. It’s this huge, three-building (maybe more?) complex full of staircases and courtyards and stained glass windows. It’s like a maze.

My favorite bit was the top floor of the main house, where the owners kept a bunch of plants — essentially, a makeshift greenhouse. With the stained glass windows that let in just enough sunlight on a cold winter day, it’d make for a great place to curl up with a book and a cup of coffee — if it weren’t a dirty old building full of dust and antiques. Clean it up a little bit, though, and it’d make a really cute café.

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 winter break in Kentucky. 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!

Sponsored link: Check out this one-button women’s office wear blazer on dresshead.com!


Jacket: Vintage (thrifted, Foxhouse Vintage)

Turtleneck: The LOFT (thrifted, Goodwill)

Skirt: Forever21

December 18, 2019 – Friendship is Magic (OOTD #590)

Not to be all sentimental, but the 2010 children’s series, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was truly worthy of its status as a cultural phenomenon.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Oh, and my friends are cool too.

Every year after we’ve all finished with classes and exams, my friends and I have a tradition of going out to see all of the neighborhood Christmas lights in Lexington. It’s a really great way to catch up after we’ve all been spread out across the country (or sometimes, across the world) because it gives us a reason to just drive around, play music, and talk about how much the city’s changed since we were last there.

Despite all of the new housing developments and buildings that seem to be being constructed, one thing that never seems to change in Lexington is this “God Bless America” house. Every year, this one particular household with a lot of money and a lot of time puts up a National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation-worthy display of decorations. It’s one we’ve visited in the past — in fact, if you want to see the blog from 2019 when we visited the same house, you can check it out here. Look how short my hair was back then!

It’s always nice to have people I can return to back in Lexington to hang out with. We don’t get to see each other every single break (and I won’t be getting to see them for several months this spring, seeing as I’ll be studying abroad in Paris and not coming back to the States), but we make an effort to try to meet up — usually at a Waffle House — when we can. Each time, someone has a new story to tell, which means we can talk for hours without running out of things to say.

I love my friends on campus whom I get to say every day (or, I used to get to see every day — not so much anymore since I’ve decided to spend all of junior year off campus), but I think there’s something special about friends you only get to see once in a while. Since your time together is more limited, you tend to make the time you do have more significant.

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 winter break in Kentucky. 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: A vintage shop in Budapest

Sweater: Talbot’s (thrifted, Goodwill)

Skirt: The LOFT (thrifted, Goodwill)

December 2, 2019 – Legally Blonde (OOTD #587)

I guess dreams really do come true, sometimes.

Attending a session of Supreme Court oral arguments has always been on my bucket list. I attribute it to the Schoolhouse Rock song about the three branches of US government, “Three Ring Government.”  I had a DVD box set of all of the old School House Rock songs, and that, along with “No More Kings” and “Telegraph Line,” (and probably a dozen more songs whose titles I can’t remember right now), I would play on repeat. This was before I had YouTube or Spotify — or even an iPod or MP3 player — so the only way I could listen to the songs was by playing the DVDs on my big square television in my room.

Just describing that makes me feel old. I know I’m not even that old, but the fact that I am now able to describe how life “used to be” makes me feel like my parents.

Anyway, I attribute my early interest in politics and government (and to a slightly lesser extent, US history) to Schoolhouse Rock. I loved that box set — in fact, I bet I still have it in a drawer somewhere in my parents’ house. I got a weird sense of superiority from knowing the three branches of government and basic early US history before all of my other classmates. I was never one to raise my hand much in class, but just knowing that I knew how the balance of power at the federal level worked while other kids didn’t made me feel special.

That’s not to say those feelings of superiority were good feelings, or that I still have them. But they did inspire me to take more interest in government and politics — an interest that died off in middle and high school and was really only renewed after the 2016 election. And just as importantly, they inspired me to consider a career in law for the first time.

I never dreamt of being president — I’m not a natural born citizen, so that’s never been an option for me. I did take some smug satisfaction from telling adults who tried to be inspiring with that even YOU could become President one day propaganda that I literally could not due to centuries-old irrelevant laws, but that’s beside the point. What I did dream of becoming was a Supreme Court Justice.

And no — the dream I referenced in the opening sentence of this blog that came true was not becoming a Supreme Court Justice (yet) — it was simply getting to visit the Supreme Court and observe oral arguments. I had visited the building earlier in the semester for a tour, but the season hadn’t yet begun, so we didn’t get to watch a case unfold.

My friend, Joanna, and I got there at 6AM for doors that weren’t due to open until 10AM. By the time we had gotten there, there was already a line snaking halfway down the street. From our online research, we’d found that they typically only allow in around 50-60 people; from a preliminary headcount, we were in spaces 55 and 56.

We had a mini-panic attack around 8 or 9am when they let in the first round of people to get out of the cold, and they cut off at fives spaces ahead of us — at number 50 exactly. We knew the number of people they let in each session varied, but we were afraid that maybe they would just cut it off at 50, and we were going to have been literally a few people away from being let in. We decided to stick it out though, hoping that they would let more people in just before 10am.

Turns out, they did. There was some speculation for that first case we went to hear (New York State Rifle and Pistol Association vs the City of New York) might end up being a landmark 2nd amendment ruling. Though it became fairly clear that, due to the law that was up for debate being revoked before the appeal made it to the Supreme Court, there’d be no guns rights showdown like some people hoped, I still think they knew it would be a case that a lot of people would want to hear, so perhaps that’s why we got in even after the first round cutoff.

Despite the fact that the case didn’t end up being a big deal in the gun control vs. gun rights debate (protesters showed up anyway — some with free coffee, which Joanna and I much appreciated after standing outside for four hours) it was still fun to watch. I’ll admit, I was a little starstruck seeing the Justices in person, even from the very back of the room. I wasn’t allowed to take any photos inside the chamber, but even if I could, you’d probably only be able to see a blurry image of RBG scowling and Clarence Thomas slumping in his seat, bored out of his mind.

The second case — something about copyright law — was less exciting. Justice Thomas and I definitely nodded off a few times.

I’m so glad I got to go though. Getting no sleep the night before, waiting outside for four hours, panicking when we thought we had just missed the cutoff, and then going to work after it all for three hours in the afternoon — it was all worth it, in my opinion. Honestly, it was possibly one of my favorite things I did the whole DC semester.

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: Banana Republic

Blouse: Banana Republic

Sweater: Aeropostale

Trousers: The LOFT

November 19, 2019 – Coffee Breaks (OOTD #582)

Starting around early November, I became a coffee break person.

I think it stemmed from the way that starting around early November, I became a fun person again. Once I became more comfortable in the city and with my internship at Brookings, I became more willing to explore the city on my own, and so I started spending more time checking out different coffee shops.

I actually became friends with two of the girls I met in DC through coffee shop outings — I think every weekend starting in early November, we’d choose a random new coffee shop to visit for the afternoon to study. Since I was getting paid, I didn’t mind the expense of buying coffee so much, and it felt really good to get away from my stuffy windowless apartment and my cubicle at work.

I think my favorite coffee shop in DC was Tryst, in the Adams Morgan area. I’ll admit, I didn’t go terribly often because it was about a 30 minute walk away and there were no metro lines that ran in that direction, but the two times I did go, I loved it. And the thing was, the coffee and the food weren’t even necessarily all that spectacular. What I loved was the atmosphere. It was open late (1AM on weekends) and located in an area with a lot of bars, so you’d get all sorts of colorful people coming in that you could watch while you worked. They didn’t have Wifi on the weekends (boo), but if I used my mobile hotspot, I was fine.

The other two places I really liked were The Coffee Bar, which was in walking distance of my workplace, and Pitango Gelato, also in Adams Morgan. The Coffee Bar had one of the best iced lattés I’ve ever had (seriously — it was life-changing), and Pitango Gelato had an amazing leek soup (didn’t end up trying the gelato though, so I can’t speak to that).

I think trying different coffee shops ended up being my favorite part about living in DC for the semester. I don’t know, I don’t tend to do a lot of restaurant exploration when I’m traveling otherwise — especially if I don’t speak the language of the country I’m in — and so it was nice being in a city in the US were I was completely comfortable just walking into any random café or restaurant by myself. It was also nice because I didn’t have to go by myself since my friends and I made it into a weekly thing. It made me feel more like someone who actually lived there rather than just a visitor.

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: The LOFT (thrift, Clothes Mentor)

Dress: The LOFT (thrift, Clothes Mentor)

October 31, 2019 – Boo (OOTD #573)

I think Halloween may be my second-favorite holiday.

As a kid, that was not really the case. I never disliked Halloween — it was always up there in the top 5 list of Meilin’s favorite holidays — but I wasn’t really enamored by it. I was never a fan of sweets and candy, I was afraid of a lot of the decorations and scary movies, and I thought trying to come up with a costume was stressful.

I much preferred Christmas and Easter and my birthday (yes, I’m going to be a narcissist and call that a holiday) because I got actual presents on those holidays. Halloween, I just got a bunch of candy that I wouldn’t even eat anyway.

Then, as a teenager, when I became too old for trick-or-treating, I got bored with Halloween. Around that time, I also moved cities and schools, and so I had none of my old friends to go to costume parties or haunted houses with. I did eventually make friends by high school, but by then, I was so busy with school and work that I didn’t have time to go to people’s costume parties and haunted houses. And besides, I wasn’t really invited to them anyway. So mostly, I just sat at home and did homework while my parents handed out candy to the neighborhood kids — making Halloween a kind of lame holiday.

As I’ve grown older, though, I’m beginning to learn to appreciate Halloween. For one, the other holidays that I used to really love, like Easter or Valentine’s Day, have become less exciting as I’ve grown older and so are no longer there to compete with Halloween for the top spot.

Secondly, even though I still don’t really go out for parties or get dressed up (and that’s really not because I don’t want to, the timing just doesn’t work out during school), I like to see all the decorations. I like carving pumpkins. I like putting together Halloween-themed outfits.

And that’s what you see here. Unfortunately, I had class Halloween night, so I didn’t have anything to do or anywhere to go for Halloween itself. I didn’t even put together a costume. But my 21st birthday was the following day, so I knew I just had to be patient.

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: Vintage (thrift, Foxhouse Vintage)

Top: The LOFT (thrift, Goodwill)

Skirt: Vintage (thrift, Street Scene Vintage)

 

October 21, 2019 – Cultured (OOTD #568)

Do you remember that trend back in like, 2011 where people would wear fake nerd glasses in an attempt to look “nerdy” and “smart?”

Yeah, I definitely did that.

For a long time, before I actually needed glasses, I wanted them. I thought they looked so intelligent. My friend, Emma, once gave me an old pair of her glasses in a little pink plastic Barbie case with a pink plastic handle, and I’d take them out when I was alone in my room and just stare at myself in the mirror. I could barely see out of them, since they weren’t, you know, my prescription, but I was pretty sure I looked great.

Flash forward 15 years, and nothing has changed. I still get dressed without seriously considering whether or not what I’m wearing actually looks good, but I feel pretty confident that it does anyway. Except, now I do need glasses.

Naturally, though, I’m not wearing them in this set of photos, which makes this transition rather awkward. Oh well. Where would we be without awkward transitions in this blog?

The point of me bringing up the story about fake glasses is because I thought this outfit/background combination was reminiscent of my fake glasses days. I may not be wearing fake glasses here, but I am in spirit. I’m also wearing a fake handlebar mustache in spirit, perfect for twirling like a silent movie villain.

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!


Coat: Vintage (thrifted, Ecseri Bazaar in Budapest)

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: Vintage (thrifted, Street Scene Vintage)

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

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

That’s the eternal drawback of my strategy of posting OOTD blogs well after the day they were worn. It gives me space to reflect on the outfit — and by extension, the day — and deliver a more thought-out blog post, but it means that holiday-themed outfits, like this one, will always be posted late.

Better late to the Halloween party than never though, right? It would be such a shame if the world never got to see me pair a navy shirt with a plaid jacket and orange pants in the name of spooky season.

On my Instagram page, I can always play around with the post dates — I don’t feel like I have to go in chronologal order. If it’s October and I want to post pictures that create an autumnal theme, I can select any photos from my library that fit that theme and only post them. It doesn’t matter when they were taken — yesterday or two years ago, they’re all fair game.

On my blog, though, I do my best to keep the chronology consistent and clear. It makes it easier for me writing, and I think it makes it easier on the readers as well. Not that anyone here really is all that interested in my overall character arc or whatever, but I like to think that if you compared one of my posts from today to one of my posts from high school, you could at least tell a slight difference in my writing and sense of style.

Maybe not in my face though. I’m pretty sure that hasn’t changed since I was 12.

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: Vintage (Foxhouse Vintage)

Shirt: Banana Republic

Trousers: The LOFT

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