November 22, 2019 – Drunken Noodles (OOTD #584)

At about T-minus two weeks before the end of the semester, my friends and I made a pact to try to sample as many DC restaurants as possible.

We’d been making money from our internships all semester and saving up our stipends, and we realized that we had enough leftover to splurge on some nice meals. None of us were from big cities; we weren’t used to living around a huge variety of food in walking  distance, and so we wanted to take advantage of it before we had to leave.

I’ve described this a bit before, but it seems that when you live in a city (as opposed to just visiting it as a tourist), it’s harder to convince yourself to go out and see things or eat out. When you live there, you’re focused on just living — going to work or school or whatever. Most nights, I’d just come home and eat some ramen that I boiled in a pot with some chopped green onion. I had the ability to go out to eat all semester, but I almost never did.

Hence the pact to try as many restaurants as possible before I left. Obviously, I couldn’t go out every night (I had class from 6:30-9:30 every Tuesday and Thursday, which complicated things), but on the nights that I could, I’d do a quick Google search for restaurants and pick the first one that interested me.

I imagine that’s what being rich is like — just finding some recommendations on TripAdvisor and then going for it. How much longer until I get to do that every day?

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 (thrift, Clothes Mentor)

Blouse: Abercrombie

Skirt: J. Crew (thrift, Clothes Mentor)

 

November 21, 2019 – Last Seen (OOTD #583)

Two items of mine made their final appearance on November 21 before being lost forever — these glasses and my MacBook Pro.

That’s actually not quite an accurate statement in regards to the glasses. Their actual last appearance before I lost them forever was Monday, November 25. I don’t have any pictures of myself while wearing them after November 21, though, so I’m lumping them in with the laptop’s disappearance date.

The laptop was dead for about a week before I caved and brought it to the Apple Store. On Saturday, November 16, I took it with me to a café to do some studying with friends, where I ordered a “deconstructed sushi roll bowl.” It was rather tasty — so much so, that I decided to put the leftover bowl in my bag.

That was my fatal mistake. When I opened my bag later that day, I realized that the soy sauce from the bowl had leaked out over everything — including my laptop. I then made a second fatal mistake — trying to turn it on.

Rather than letting it rest to dry out, I immediately tried to turn it on. And it did, for about ten minutes. Then the screen went black, and it never came back.

I gave it a few days, but it became increasingly clear that it was toast. In defeat, I brought it to the Apple Store in Carnegie Library to send off for repairs, which is actually where some of these photos were taken. The rest were taken nearby with CityCenterDC’s Christmas trees.

As for the glasses, I didn’t lose those until a few days later — and even then, I didn’t realize they were missing for a few more days still. This is their last photographic appearance. More on that later.

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: Forever21

Sweater: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Trousers: Express

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)

November 18, 2019 – Can’t Somebody Open Up A Window? (OOTD #581)

The best part of the Brookings Library was that I could open the windows.

I didn’t realize until after I’d lived in an apartment with limited natural light and un-openable windows for three months that I really value the ability to get fresh air indoors.   In my entire apartment building, which I don’t believe had been updated since 1990 when it was built by the University of California, I don’t think there was one openable window.

At first, I hardly noticed — it’s not like I open every window I come across. And for weeks, it was too hot in DC to want to let any hot air in at all.

But think about it — when you do want to open a window, however rarely that may be, you really want to open it. Maybe you burned something in the kitchen and you want to let the smoke out before it sets the alarm off. Maybe your neighbor’s plumbing overflowed and you currently have sewage seeping into your living room carpet (that actually happened to me and my roommate twice). Or maybe you’re just feeling bothered and anxious and you know that some fresh air would make you feel better. Not being able to open a window in any of those situations ends up being quite a nuisance.

So I couldn’t open the windows in my apartment, and I couldn’t open the windows in any of the student lounges or study spaces (not that most of them even had windows), and there were no windows to be found in the cubicle where I worked. Thus, when I found that I could open the windows of the Brookings Library, I knew I had found my favorite study space.

I say that, but funnily enough, this is actually my last blog post from the Brookings Library — or Brookings itself. I still had about three more weeks of my internship to go, but I sort-of ran out of locations to use for backgrounds, and so I saw no need to continue taking pictures there. Besides, I started going out more and doing things outside of work and school. Who needs to open up a window to let fresh air in when you can walk out the door and into the fresh air itself?

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: Thrift (Goodwill)

Sweater: Thrift (Goodwill)

Trousers: Banana Republic Sloan

November 15, 2019 – Black Out (OOTD #580)

A few years ago, I would have considered an all-black outfit to be so edgy.

I don’t think it was until my freshman year of high school that I started wearing all-black clothes. In middle school, that was too “alternative” for me — black was for funerals or business suits. Besides, the stores I mostly shopped at — Abercrombie and Hollister — didn’t sell black. Black wasn’t a cool color for teenage girls back in 2012; you were supposed to wear navy and grey and burgundy and maybe a little bit of off-white or army green. If you weren’t dressing like a) a rich kid at a prep school or b) a California beach bum, you were doing something wrong.

And then, when I entered high school, black suddenly became a cool color. Maybe it had to do with how those Victoria’s Secret PINK leggings had became widely accepted for wear as pants. Remember when that was a whole debate — whether leggings should be considered pants? Now, no one really thinks twice about it. My mother, who used to complain when I wore leggings as pants, now wears leggings herself when she walks the dog or goes to the grocery store.

By my freshman year of high school in 2013, every girl in school was wearing black Victoria’s Secret leggings, and once those had fully replaced blue jeans as go-to bottoms for everyday wear, it was only a matter of time before black became acceptable for tops too.

I know that sounds silly — how can a basic neutral color like black have ever been out-of-style? The thing was, it wasn’t really. I don’t think Seventeen or Teen Vogue were running articles in 2010-2013 about how black was a socially unacceptable color to wear. But it just wasn’t anywhere to be found in the shops that middle school girls like me frequented. Unless you were shopping at Hot Topic (and only emo weirdos shopped there), you wouldn’t find much black. Your Abercrombie cardigan with a big embroidered moose on your left shoulder wouldn’t come in black. Your Hollister floral skirt with an elastic waistband wouldn’t come in black. It just wasn’t a thing.

We’ve come a long way since 2013. Wearing all black is no longer an indication that you’re an edgy teenager — or at least, it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, it’s just a stylistic choice with no particular meaning.

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: Express

Skirt: Zara (thrifted, Poshmark)

November 9, 2019 – A Long Time Coming (OOTD #577)

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that it took me a while to start having fun in DC.

And that’s true. I spent the first two months doing pretty much nothing but going to work, coming home, going to class, and then repeating the next day. Up until November, I wasn’t really doing anything to take advantage of my residence in DC.

But, as I also mentioned in that earlier blog post, once I did start having fun, I really went for it. Apparently, turning 21 made all the difference.

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About a week after my 21st birthday, my best friend, Jane came and visited. Jane has been a good friend of mine since I was 11 years-old, and she’s the only person I still keep in contact with from my old Louisville days. She and I met through a mutual friend in choir in 6th grade, and, though we weren’t necessarily super close in 6th grade, she somehow wound up as the only person from Louisville who kept up with texting me after I moved to Lexington.

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It’s kind of like my friendship with Amanda — Amanda and I were also not super close in high school when we actually saw each other every day. It was only once we went to university and moved to different cities that we became good friends. Wonder why that happens?

I’m a little surprised Jane hasn’t appeared more on this blog, given how often I go back to Louisville or up to Cincinnati. I guess it’s because I usually only see her for lunch or something short like that, so there’s never really time to take pictures worth making a blog out of. The last time I saw her in person, it was March 2019, and we just got lunch together in Cincinnati as I passed by on my way home for spring break. It was such a short trip, she didn’t even appear in any pictures. Then, I saw her in January 2019, and I was sick as a dog after having come home from Vichy, France — definitely not in any shape to take pictures for a blog.

The last time she actually appeared in pictures on my blog was the summer after I graduated high school. I visited her in Louisville for a few days just two weeks before I began at Notre Dame. We went to the mall, broke into my old elementary school, and ate doughnuts.

This time, Jane came and visited me in Washington DC over Veterans’ Day weekend. I had off from work that Monday, and so we had the whole long weekend to spend together from Friday night to Monday night.

And it was just as much fun as always! It was nice getting to be the hostess for once instead of the guest; I feel like most of the time when I see Jane, it’s me visiting her rather than the other way around because she lives in the more interesting city than I do (no offense, Lexington). Since I was spending the semester in DC, which is, for once, a cool city, I got to take her around to all of the cool places.

On Saturday, we went to the Smithsonian Botanic Gardens, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Wharf. Excluding my first week or two in DC when I went on a couple of back-to-back school trips to the monuments on the Mall, this was my first time in DC actually getting to go around and see some of the touristy sites. It’s funny how, when you live somewhere, you don’t actually get to see some of its famous sites unless you put in extra effort to go to them. The same thing happened to me in Rome over the summer.

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: A vintage shop in Budapest

Dress: thrifted (Buffalo Exchange)

November 3, 2019 – Firsts and Twenty-Firsts (OOTD #575)

The weekend of my twenty-first birthday, I didn’t do much productive.

And that’s not because I spent the entire time drunk. I really didn’t. I went out the night of my actual birthday (which, miraculously, was a Friday night), and the rest of the time, I was mostly sober. I got a mimosa at Sunday brunch just because I could, and otherwise, I was completely tame.

But nonetheless, I didn’t really do anything productive — I didn’t do much homework (not that I had much during my DC semester), I didn’t work on any scholarship applications, I didn’t study for the LSAT. For once, I actually went out and had fun.

It took me until November for me to find friends to really hang out with in DC. The Notre Dame cohort was small; only about 17 people, and for a variety of unimportant reasons, it took me a while to connect with any of them. Despite spending every Thursday together in class for the entirety of September and October, and despite everyone being very friendly to me, it still took two months for me to find my crowd.

The turning point was the weekend of my 21st birthday. I invited everyone out for dinner to celebrate (not just my birthday — there were a few other people whose 21st birthdays were around the same time as mine), and something just clicked. After that, I went out to the Nats parade the following day with some people, and then I went to a café that evening to study with someone, and the following day, I went to brunch with the same group of girls.

If you’ll remember, I had the same thing happen to me in Rome over the summer. I spent several weeks being bored and lonely before I made a solid group of friends to hang out with, and it wasn’t until literally days before it was time for me to leave for good that I made friends with the people I was living with. It seems that I always manage to make friends wherever I go, it just sometimes takes a while.

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: Thrift (Goodwill)

Dress: Francesca’s

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 28, 2019 – 70s Hollywood Producer (OOTD #571)

Today’s outfit inspiration is 1970s Hollywood — not the glamorous red carpet stars, though, but the behind-the-scenes executive producers.

For goodness’s sake, I’m wearing an ascot. An ascot. I don’t think it gets any more 70s than that.

I’ve become a little bit enamored with the 70s lately. For a while there, I was all about 60s style — the retro patterns, suede skirts, the layered jumpers. I had what was basically a Hairspray phase, but 10 years after the Zac Efron movie (and even more years after the original Broadway musical) came out.

But then, all the 60s stuff became mainstream, and you couldn’t go to Forever21 without seeing fourteen different suede skirts and twelve different denim jumpers in their storefront. The 60s were new and cool in 2017. They had become a little old and tired again by 2019.

The 70s, on the other hand, are on their way up — at least, in my opinion. I like the 70s. They’re like the 60s, but worse — less optimism, more drugs, worse pop music (though better rock), more polyester. If I don’t look like I walked out of an early Scorsese film, what’s the point?

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: Thrift (Goodwill)

Blouse: Banana Republic

Trousers: Thrift (Salvation Army)

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)