January 15, 2020 – Bienvenue à Paris (OOTD #596)

Finalement, je suis ici à Paris! 

It’s hard to believe that I finally made it here to Paris. It’s been a whole year since I first committed to study abroad at Sciences Po Paris for a semester, and it’s been over a year since I first submitted my application. My arrival in Paris has been a long time coming.

It almost didn’t happen either. My last blog post, I wrote about going to the Chicago visa office to submit the last of my paperwork. I thought that was going to be the end of it — I’d hand it my papers at the office, and then they would issue me my visa right there. I was deeply wrong. As it turns out, after I handed in my papers, I had to hand in my passport as well, leave it with in Chicago so they could send it all the way to Washington DC, and then, finally, they would send it back.

You can imagine how anxious I was as my flight departure date grew nearer and I still didn’t have my passport back from the DC visa office. I braced myself to have to reschedule my flight, potentially missing the Sciences Po Welcome Programme in the fallout.

I got lucky though — my passport, with my visa attached inside, arrived literally one day before my departure. A word of advice, though, if you’re going to be studying abroad in France and don’t want to deal with the stress of waiting for you passport to be returned to you via snail mail — do your visa appointment early! Don’t wait until the last second like I did.

Believe it or not, this is actually my first time in Paris. I feel like almost everyone (at least, those of my friends who had to go on international family vacations when they were kids) has been to Paris. It isn’t the number one tourist destination in the world for nothing.

My first few days in Paris were relatively uneventful. The grève, or strike, against the retirement pension reforms was still going on, so the RER and several métro lines were down, making getting from CDG Aéroport to my apartment in the 14e arrondissement more difficult that I had anticipated it being. In the end, rather than braving a taxi or a bus, I called a car service to pick me up and drive me to my apartment. It was perhaps the less “authentic” choice, but it got me where I needed to be.

After arriving at my apartment, I spent a good chunk of the day asleep. I was hardly able to sleep on the plane, despite my attempts, and so I was exhausted when I arrived. Unfortunately, since I arrived in the morning (7am to be exact), I still had a full day ahead of me to try to stay awake — a task that I admittedly didn’t do amazingly at.

When I was finally able to stay awake for more than five minutes at a time, I decided to take the bus into the city to walk around a little, as well as to get some paperwork from my landlord’s office. Completely unintentionally, as I was wandering around, I ended up bumping into the Eiffel Tower.

I still think la tour Eiffel looks a little like an overhyped telephone pole, but don’t tell the French I said that about their most iconic architectural structure. I’m sure it’s gorgeous at night when it’s all sparkling and lit up, and I’m sure it offers a beautiful view of the city if you go to the top. During the day, though, when viewed as a spectator from the ground, I think the romanticized idea of the Eiffel Tower is cooler than the reality.

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 abroad in the Paris, France. 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)

Turtleneck: Express

Jeans: Hollister

January 2, 2020 – The Chicago Sun (OOTD #595)

I don’t care what anyone says; the sun feels the best in the winter in the Midwest.

I’m sure the sun is lovely in California. I’m sure it’s wonderful to live in a state where it never dips below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, where you see the sun every day no matter what the season. I’m sure the sun is lovely elsewhere too. But in the Midwest in the winter — in places like South Bend, Indiana or Chicago, Illinois — where you can go the entirety of December through April without once seeing a ray of sunshine, it hits a little different. The sun is special there; it’s sacred.

When I hopped onto the plane in the wee hours of the morning on one of the first days of 2020 to head to the French visa office in Chicago, I braced myself for the worst. I expected winds, snow, ice — maybe hail. I may not have been in the Midwest since the first half of 2019,  but believe me, I remember how winter there works. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget how winter there works.

So imagine my surprise when it was actually…kind of nice out? Arguably even nicer than Kentucky had been during the same time?

I mean, I still needed my coat and scarf. I definitely didn’t regret bringing those. But as winter days in Chicago go, it was about as beautiful as it could be. For starters, the sun was out — and the sun is never out in that part of the country during that time of year. The permacloud life is real.

And not only was the weather beautiful, but my father and I got to spend nice day together in the city. I had my visa appointment in the morning, which went fairly smoothly, and after it was done, we were free to enjoy ourselves until our flight back to Lexington at 9pm at night.

I’ve been to Chicago several times, so I know most of what it has to offer, but every time, I feel like I discover something new. For example, I realized during this trip that I’d never even seen the Chicago River before. I’ve also never been to the Lincoln Park Zoo (that I remember — apparently I went once as a kid, but since I don’t remember it, I don’t count it). The more I go to Chicago, the more I learn to like it; my appreciation for it is growing.

The accent still kills me though. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get over the way they all talk through their nose. They do know that they can pronounce words using their chest and throat, right? It’s Chi-augh-go, not Chi-cah-go. 

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 the States. 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: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Sweater: H&M

Turtleneck: Amazon

Jeans: Altar’d State

December 30, 2019 – Suburban Style (OOTD #594)

Being home again makes me realize how difficult it is to find good locations for photos when you’re not in a city.

Think about it — for the last six months, I’ve been traveling around from one city to another. This blog has almost become more of a travel blog than a fashion one at this point. I’ve been to Europe, South America, and the Middle East, and I’ve lived in both Washington, DC and Rome, Italy. There were pros and cons to each location, and nowhere was perfect (except arguably New York, which will always have a special place in my heart), but one thing you could say consistently with confidence was that there were always great locations for fashion photography..

December 2019 was the first time I’d been home for more than two weeks in basically a year and a half. I think the last time I was home for this long was winter break my freshman year. I’d forgotten how hard it was to find places to take pictures for my blog at home; a small suburb in Kentucky doesn’t quite compare to an ancient European city.

I have to be more creative when I’m at home. I can’t just go out and find a random pretty building to stand next to — all the buildings around are cookie-cutter brick houses. They’re not really worth photographing, and besides, it’d be kind of creepy if I used my neighbor’s house as a backdrop for my blog!

In the spring and fall, I like to get foliage and plantlife to incorporate color and variety. In the winter, I can’t really rely on those though — half of the time, I can’t even rely on the sun to be out.

I’ve found that I like this sort of “street scene” shot — I’ve done it before, and each time, it makes for a really cool set of photos, or at least, as cool as they can get for being taken in suburbia. I do what I can with what I have.

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: Express

Sweater: Thrift (Goodwill)

Trousers: Express

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 20, 2019 – Punk Goes Christmas (OOTD #591)

You know someone loves you when they agree they do something they hate with you.

My mother hates the mall at Christmastime. In general, she’s not really a mall person during the regular season because she doesn’t like the crowds — so you can imagine why she avoids them when they’re packed with last-minute Christmas shoppers.

But I do like the mall at Chirstmastime. I like crowds, to a certain extent — I don’t like being packed like sardines on a hot summer day on the subway, but most crowds, like concerts or busy streets or malls at Christmastime, I’m actually rather fond of. I think they’re energizing, and I like people-watching, I like thinking about where all of the people are going and what they’re doing with their lives.

A few days before Christmas, my mother agreed to take a Friday off from work to spend time with me and do some shopping. I had a few Christmas gifts still to pick up, as well as an Express gift card to spend for a collaboration. She wanted to spend time with me, so she was lovely enough to come along — and also to drive me, since I don’t have a car to go on my own.

Mothers are nice like that. She didn’t even mind being seen in public with me with my ripped jeans and fishnets. I really looked the part of a rebellious teenager (though I guess I’m two years removed from my teenage years) dragging her mom along with her to 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 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: Thrift

Turtleneck: Express

Jeans: Hot Topic

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 6, 2019 – Farewell, DC (OOTD #588)

My semester in DC felt like my shortest semester of university yet.

To be fair, I think it literally was — because it was administered through the University of California and not Notre Dame, my schedule turned out a little differently than a regular ND semester, and I wound up finishing classes and my internship about two weeks before everyone back on campus.

But the actual timing aside, in terms of personal lived experience, this semester just flew by, especially the second half. I’ve discussed this a little already, but after my 21st birthday weekend, the whole semester really picked up, and things improved exponentially. The first half of the semester, from September to October, was kind of a drag. It was hot and miserable and I felt like I hadn’t made any good friends to do things with. Then, come mid-late October, the weather cooled down, I finished up my domestic violence liaison trainings at the MPD that had been taking up several hours each week, and I finally established a solid group of friends. After that, everything turned around.

I think each weekend after my 21st birthday, I had something fun to do — the following weekend, Jane visited, then Mariana visited, then it was Thanksgiving, then the semester was over. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun.

The Friday of my last day of work and my last day of the semester, my friends and I treated ourselves to a nice dinner to celebrate the end of it all. In preparation for my upcoming semester in Paris, I chose a French restaurant called Le Diplomate. Then, we headed to the Smithsonian National Zoo for their Christmas lights show.

The zoo was one of the sites in DC that I had wanted to visit all semester, but that I hadn’t gotten around to. And in an almost poetic manner, when I finally did visit, it was my last night in DC.

It was a nice way to say goodbye to the city. I got to spend time with my friends, enjoy the lights, and relax knowing that all of my work for the semester was done. Even though it was a short semester, it was a productive one. It was my first time working a full-time politics-related job, my first time living in an apartment, my first time cooking for myself every day, and my first time living in a real American city. I know what I experienced in DC wasn’t full-blown independent adult life — I still had the help of my family and university to support me —  but I think it was the closest I’d been up until that point.

And you know what? I think I did an okay job.

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!


Cape: Vintage (thrifted, Street Scene Vintage)

Blouse: A boutique at a mall in Kathmandu, Nepal

Skirt: Abercrombie

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)