January 18, 2020 – Ver-SALES (OOTD #598)

Little known fact: I almost moved to Versailles once.

No, not the town just outside of Paris. No, not the famous palace built by Louis XIV. I’m talking about Versailles, Kentucky (pronounced in the Kentuckian Ver-SALES rather than the French Vair-SIGH) — a town just outside of Lexington.

When my parents were deciding where to move when I was in seventh grade, they considered a few of the more rural areas outside of Fayette County. Versailles in Woodford County was one of them. We were coming from the Louisville-Jefferson County area, and in the greater Louisville region, the best places to live aren’t necessarily in Jefferson County. I think my parents thought Lexington would be much the same — you’d go into Lexington to do your shopping or to have fun on the weekends, but for day-to-day life, you’d want to live outside of the city.

As it turned out, though, Lexington’s pretty different. You don’t really need to live outside of Fayette County in order to find suburban quiet; there’s plenty of suburban quiet in Fayette County already. Lexington’s just much smaller than Louisville, so there was no need for us to seriously consider Versailles, Kentucky as a home.img_2853

Still, I’ve driven through Versailles, Kentucky many times, and I’m fond of some of the roads and sites. In particular, Versailles, Kentucky has its own castle — not quite the magnificent palace that spurred a revolution in France, but one that’s caused many a confused driver to do a double-take and wonder what a giant chateâu is doing in the Bluegrass state.

And so finally getting to go to the real Versailles — the Vair-SIGH version for which the Ver-SALES one was named — was exciting! I went with the same roommate from Notre Dame who’d accompanied me the previous day on our grand tour of tourist Paris. I think both of us were itching for something to do to get out of the house. We’d already unpacked and bought groceries and begun to settle into our apartment, and so there wasn’t much left to do to keep busy — and more importantly, to keep our minds off of anxiety about the start of the semester in a few days. I suppose I can’t speak on my roommate’s behalf, but that’s certainly what I was thinking.img_2898

The Palace of Versailles is a must-see. I know it’s outside of Paris. I know it’s intimidating to take the RER out of the city for the first time. I know it’s not quite as famous as the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe. But believe me — it’s worth that extra 15-30 minute train ride.

Palaces and castles are some of my favorite sites to visit when I’m in Europe. They’re just so exotic to me — outside of the curious Versailles, Kentucky castle-themed concert venue in the middle of nowhere, Americans like me never get to see castles. The closest you might get are old plantation manors like Monticello or Mount Vernon. Castles and palaces also make for great photo opportunities, and, if you’re willing to pay admission to go inside, they give you lots to walk around and marvel at for a few hours. While some of them are arguably less exciting than others (I’m looking at you, Posavski muzej Brežice in Brežice, Slovenia), needless to say, Versailles is fantastic. And if you’re a student at an EU institution like I was at the time, admission is free!

I wish I could’ve stayed there longer — a rather common theme you’ll likely find in all of my Paris-related blogs. Both Isabel and I agreed that it would be worth it to come back in the springtime when the gardens were in bloom (though the fewer tourists who were there due to the winter season was definitely also a perk). There’s so much more to see than just the main palace. I’d liken it almost to something in the vein of a national park. There’s just miles of sprawling, beautifully-manicured land to explore, not to mention dozens of smaller palaces scattered about the grounds that you can go in.

When we finally left, exhausted and hungry from walking around so much, I mentally made a note that I had to go back to Versailles, especially if my parents or friends managed to come visit me. And at the time, I thought that was a given — of course I’d be able to go back! Why wouldn’t I? It was so close, and with my NaviGo Transport pass plus my student ID card, it was a free trip.

…and that’s not to say I’ll never be able to go back, maybe once this whole pandemic has burned itself out and I’ve made enough money to be able to take a nice vacation to Paris. But I’m sad that I’ll likely never return as a student, as a local who actually lives in France. There was something enchanting about visiting the palace knowing I was a resident of Paris rather than a regular tourist. It was almost like being a Bourbon myself, taking a trip to get away from city politics to relax for the weekend at my countryside home.img_2894

I guess I always have the Kentuckian Versailles for 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 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: A vintage shop in Budapest  (thrifted)

Top: Express

Skirt: Zara (thrifted)

January 17, 2020 – Le Grand Jour (OOTD #597)

There’s um…been a lot that’s happened in the world and in my life since my last post about January 15, 2020 .

That last post, despite being about mid-January, was actually published in mid-March. As has been the case for all of my blog posts since about spring 2018, they’re all posted quite a while after the actual calendar date they correspond with. That’s not new.

What is new is the now-seven month gap in between the publication date of a blog and the date the corresponding photos were taken. This post is about January 2020. It’s now July — and the world of July 2020 is vastly different from that of January 2020.

It’s kind of hard to put myself back into the headspace of January 2020 to even write about this day in mid-January, back in Paris. When possible, I normally try to write my blogs in the present tense — as if I’m actually reliving that day. I’m afraid that’s going to be impossible with most of my study abroad semester blogs. I doubt anyone is able to fully go back to the mentality they had at the start of this year, myself included.

For a while there, blogging didn’t really seem like an appropriate thing to do, you know? There was a global pandemic going on, not to mention the widespread protests that swept the country as the health crisis brought to the surface longstanding social inequities, in particular for Black Americans. I didn’t think my fashion blog really had place in the world at the time.

Still, I love writing, and I love reflecting on my daily life via this blog. It’ll be hard work for me to get caught up again with the months-worth of photos and outfits I’ve neglected to post about over this hiatus, but I’m going to try.img_2751

I’m going to give you the spoilers right now: I didn’t make it through the whole semester in Paris. That wasn’t of my own volition — the COVID-19 pandemic, which ground the whole world to a halt in mid-March, also brought my European semester to an abrupt end. In mid-March, shortly after my most recent blog was posted, my home university announced that it would be closing down campus for the rest of the semester and flying all of its abroad students back to the United States. Needless to say, I was devastated.

But I’ve been taking the last several months to reflect on the wonderful time I got to have in Paris and the friends I got to make, and despite the fact it was cut short, I’m so glad I got to experience what I got to experience there. And in fact, that’s kind of why I want to go back to writing again: I don’t want to forget all of the wonderful times I had in Paris, and so I want to preserve the memories I do have. It’s not ideal — I probably should’ve written down those memories sooner so as to maintain the details — but it’ll do.

These photos were from my third day in Paris. I wrote about the first day in this post here. My second day was pretty boring — not blog-worthy, apparently. I went for a walk in the evening and bought some groceries.I spent most of the day getting over my horrible jet lag.

But day 3 was a lot of fun! I went out with my roommate into the city to do some exploring. We went to le 1er arrondissement, the tourist section of town. I’m not kidding — we literally saw just about every single stereotypically Parisian site in that single day. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Seine, the Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde, the Notre Dame (the real one!), the Louvre — you name it, we probably passed it. It was also my first time on the Paris Métro, as up until that point, I’d taken busses due to the Métro running an altered schedule thanks to the transport strike.

That’s about it though — we passed them all. It was mostly a survey day of the 1er. We didn’t stop to go into the Louvre (we tried — it was closed due to a strike), we didn’t go up the Eiffel Tower, we didn’t go into any of the shops on the Champs-Élysées. We both thought we had four more months in Paris with which to do all of those things — so no need to rush on day 3, right?

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: A vintage shop in Budapest  (thrifted)

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: Abercrombie

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

Wednesday Musings – December 2019 + Year in Review 2019 Bullet Journal Spread

You know, I think I’m finally becoming a fully-fledged bullet journal girl.

It’s funny — I used to make fun (like, in a friendly way) of the girls in my high school who’d carry around their perfectly laid-out planners. Everyone carried Lilly Pulitzer agendas back then. I thought it was so unnecessary and almost childish; why would you need to write down what you need to do? What are you going to do, forget? How could you forget when your teachers literally remind you every single day of the assignments you have to do?

Then, when I began at Notre Dame, I caved and got my own Lilly planner. I figured it was university, and it was time I learned to organized and start keeping track of my assignments and schedule. You can even see some of my early attempts at writing in my Lilly planner freshman year here. I tended to doodle a lot, which, looking back, was definitely the precursor to my bullet journal habits now.

I guess the rest is history. I got my first bullet journal June 2018, and, after a few months of writing in it on and off, (I may have skipped bullet journaling from October-December 2018 and again from May-July 2019, oops) I have finally, after over a year of trying, gotten into a habit of doing it semi-consistently. I’ve completed spreads — mood and habit trackers and all — for September, October, November, and December. That’s four consecutive months in a row!

I even made a little year in review spread for 2019 to celebrate the end of the year. I think my favorite panel was the “themes of 2019” section. It’s cute to have little thumbnail sketches of all of the themes I did in the past year in one place. It really shows how much I’ve grown — I started by mostly copying YouTubers like AmandaRachLee, and  I ended by coming up with unique designs of my own.

Anyway, here’s to continued bullet journal success for all in 2020!

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!


Bullet Journal Supplies (with Amazon links)

Bullet journal: The Scribbles that Matter Pro, A5, 

Pens: Pilot Frixion 

Markers: Prismacolor Brush Tip  and Copic Brush Tip

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 23, 2019 – Christmas Red (OOTD #593)

The first time I wore this dress for a blog post, I admitted that I didn’t know the right occasion to wear it.  I think I’ve finally discovered the right occasion: Christmas!

A few days before Christmas, my friend, Jane, came and visited from Louisville. I wanted something nice and festive to wear for our brunch out, but I didn’t want to just wear another Christmas sweater, like I do every year in the days right before Christmas. This dress, which had been sitting unworn in my closet since I first wore it back in April, ended up being the perfect choice.

I miss having my full wardrobe available to me whenever I want it. Over the last year and a half, I feel like I’ve had to move to a new location every three months or so. First I was at Notre Dame, then I was in Rome, then I was in DC,  then I was home. I haven’t had all of my clothes in one place since high school.

I know I’m capable of putting together diverse looks even when I have a limited selection of clothes, but nonetheless, I prefer to have my full wardrobe to choose from. I like being able to pull pieces from the back of my closet, things that I’ve almost forgotten that I owned. It’s easy to make outfits out of your favorite pieces; it’s a challenge to make outfits out of things that you wouldn’t normally be inclined to wear.

This dress is one of those pieces that I wouldn’t bring with me for one of my three-month short-term internship or school living arrangements. It’s not practical or wearable enough to be worth bringing when I have limited packing space. Wearing it at home, then, feels like a special treat — I know I won’t have a chance to wear it again for a few months at least, so I have to make the most out of the time I have with it.

Anyway, that was me being sentimental about a cheap dress that I barely wear. Up next time: crying about the old Ugg boots in the back of my closet that I haven’t worn since I was 14.

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!


Dress: Dokotoo

 

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)