August 13, 2019 – Interlude (OOTD #546)

Here’s the thing about independent research trips: you don’t have to do research for the whole time.

 

Or maybe you do — I don’t know, I’ve never done one before. Maybe a good researcher would spend all of their time devoted to their work. Alternatively, maybe all research trips are fake and people just go on them to travel to exotic places on their university’s budget. What do I know?

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Anyway, after a whole day devoted to working on my research project on the West Bank border graffiti, I decided I deserved a break. I knew I needed to go back to the border and have a closer look at some of the graffiti, but it’s not exactly an easy task. I needed another day or two to research how even I could get back to the area safely on my own, so in the meantime, I decided to do something a little more accessible to the average tourist.

What I ultimately decided to do was visit Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Museum.

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What I show here are not photos of me at Yad Vashem for what I think should be an obvious reason — a memorial to genocide is not the place for fashion photography. Sure, I took pictures while I was there of the exhibits, but the focus was on the exhibit, not me. As much as I like to make things about me, the Holocaust is far beyond the scope of even my narcissism.IMG_5418.jpeg

I did like my outfit though, so instead, I got some pictures with a sculpture and a nice hill overlooking the city in a nearby park.

It was a great museum though, seriously. That’s coming from me — a person who normally finds museums (except for art museums) to be dull and slow. The best part — as is the best part with a lot of museums to tragic events, such as the 9/11 Museum — were the video testimonies from people who lived through it. Diary entries and photographs and personal belongings help embellish the narrative, of course, but only the people who lived the experience can tell the story.IMG_5372.jpeg

They also did a fair job, in my opinion, from keeping the museum historical, rather than making it into it about why Zionism and a national Jewish state need to exist (though they did touch on that in the last room or two). Having just come from Palestine the previous day, I appreciated the dominantly historical approach.

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


Coat: Forever21

Dress: Vintage (thrift, Brick Lane Market)

Blouse: ASOS

 

July 24, 2019 – Summer Colors, Winter Outfit (OOTD #536)

I’ve talked about this many times before on this blog, but I tend to blatantly disregard the weather when choosing my outfits.

It’s 100 degrees and humid? Time to wear a coat. It’s the middle of winter? That’s the perfect time for shorts! 

This outfit follows the pattern of the former example — it was late July, aka, the hottest time of the year in Kentucky, aka the Devil’s armpit of atmospheric conditions. Naturally, I thought a long coat and skirt was the appropriate response.img_3296

To be fair, the colors work rather well for summer, if you ask me. In aesthetic, it worked  — but not so much in execution.

It’s not like I really had to go out much that day, though. After returning from Rome, I had no other plans for the summer (save another bout of traveling in August), so I had no responsibilities like work to force me to venture out of the air conditioning of my home.img_3308

But I did venture out, if only for a few hours in the evening. My mother and I had to go out and get my father a Father’s Day gift, as I had missed the actual date of the holiday while I was abroad. We went to this cute little outdoor shopping mall in town, and it turned out to be a perfect place to get pictures of my very cute but impractical outfit.

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


Jacket: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Top: Vintage (thrifted, Ecseri Bazaar)

Skirt: Vintage (thrifted)

Bonus points to me for an entirely thrifted outfit! 

July 15, 2019 – London Layover (OOTD #533)

Best. Layover. Ever.

Here it is — the last blog from my summer European adventure. And what an adventure it was. Fitting that it should end with one last big adventure, right?

Croatia was not actually the last country I visited on this trip — it was actually England. After departing the Zagreb airport at around 1pm in the afternoon (though I’ll mention I arrived at like 7am, on account of my friend’s flight departing earlier than mine), I made it to London Heathrow a little over an hour later.

And then I sat and waited.

My next flight, the one that would take me to Chicago, wasn’t going to leave until the following day at 7am. I had a 16-hour layover to wait out. Thankfully, if my traveling has taught me anything, it’s how to handle long layovers in the airport — and the best way to handle a long layover in the airport is to leave.

 

July 14, 2019 – Castle on the Hill (OOTD #532)

Blog title courtesy of this Ed Sheeran song. 

With the exception of the fact that this castle in these photos was on more of a mountain than a castle, that is a rather fitting song to go with this blog. For full effect, have it playing in the background while you read this.

I’m kidding — don’t do that, that’s corny. Or maybe do, if you like sappy songs and sappy blogs about nostalgia.

Why reference an Ed Sheeran song that I only kind-of sort-of like? Because this is the second-to-last blog covering my two-month summer 2019 adventure in Europe that, thus far in the chronology of this blog, has spanned four countries and nine cities (soon to be five countries — but you’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s blog for that story), and I’m feeling nostalgic. It was a fun summer. I didn’t want it to end. Now I don’t want to finish writing about, because that means it’s done for good.

On my final day in Croatia, my friend, her cousin and I all hiked up the side of a mountain to where the ruins of Samobor Old Town castle were located. This was somewhere that my friend’s cousin had been trying to get us to go to for the entire week, but for one reason or another — exhaustion, illness, weather — we hadn’t yet made it.

I was actually afraid we might not get to go at all. I like to think of myself as pretty receptive and flexible when it comes to travel experiences, but I don’t know if everyone else is the same way. Someone had mentioned that there might be snakes in the area, and I think my friend was a little nervous to go. I kept mentioning that I was interested in going though, and eventually, she relented.

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hvala, sljedeći.

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And I’m sure glad I pushed for it. Maybe castle ruins aren’t a big deal if you’re from Europe and there are ancient castles everywhere you turn, but as an American from Kentucky who hadn’t seen a castle up until this summer, it’s still very cool.

Croatia is one of the filming locations of Game of Thones, and Samobor Old Town made it obvious why. Where else in the world can you find castle ruins that are just ruined enough to be whimsical but not so ruined to be unattractive? And in the picturesque mountains of a small countryside town?

On the last night in Croatia, we went to dinner with my friend’s family. I was happy to have been invited along, but I’ll admit I felt a little out of place. The whole week, I was afraid I was somehow overstepping my boundaries as a guest and the only non-family person there, even though there was no indication from my friend’s family that they felt that way. If anything, they were too friendly and accommodating — I know I’ll never be able to return the favor in full, so there’s nothing I can do but be grateful that they allowed me to stay with them in Samobor for a week

That night, when I went to bed, I was full of conflicted feelings. In one sense, I was sad to be leaving Europe after I’d had so much fun and become thoroughly enchanted with their public transportation infrastructure; in another, I was glad to finally be heading home after two months away (which had almost immediately followed another two months away at school). In a third sense, I was nervous to have to fly out again the following day for a three flight, 42 hour travel sequence back to the US.

Yes, you read that right — three flights and 42 hours. Tune in next time for the rest of that story.

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


Top: Vintage (thrift, Budapest Ecseri Bazaar)

Jacket: Thrift (ClothesMentor)

Jeans: American Eagle

July 11, 2019 – Roadtrip to Another Country (OOTD #530)

I think one of my favorite parts of Europe is how easily you can travel from one country to another.

I guess you could do that too if you lived in New York near the Canadian border. But for the rest of the country, it’s not even that easy to go from one state to another — let alone from one country to the next. Honestly, you can probably get from Croatia to Slovenia than I can get from Kentucky to Ohio.

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skunk hair

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It was about 15 minutes for us to get from the house in Somobor to the Slovenian border. The first Slovenian border, that is — turns out, at some Croatia-Slovenia borders, you can only cross if you’re an EU citizen. As I am not one of those, the border officer wouldn’t let me or my another American friend cross, so we had to drive another 20 minutes to get to another one.

There were really only one and a half reasons that we were bothering to go to Slovenia — the first and more legitimate reason was that my friend’s cousin needed to get a prescription filled that she couldn’t get in Croatia. In other words, you can now add international drug smuggling to my list of crimes.

The other half of a reason was so that I could say that I’ve technically been to Slovenia. It’s not every day that you can visit another a country.

After picking up the medicine, we spent a few hours in a small town called Brežice. Have you ever heard of it?

It’s okay, I hadn’t either. To be honest, there’s probably not really any particular reason to go out of your way to visit Brežice, unless you’re already in the Zagreb area and you just want to see a Slovenian town just across the border. I mean, if you’re willing to drive an extra hour, you could probably just go to Ljubljana, but if you can’t do that, Brežice will do the trick.

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not your average pitstop

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And if you do wind up in Brežice, you should absolutely visit Brežice Castle and the Posavski muzej Brežice. It’s an old castle that’s been turned into a beautiful museum, and, while it can be a little boring at times if you’re not super into Slovenian history, it’s still a nice area to walk around.

We also visited Mokrice Castle, but I can’t really talk much about it because we didn’t stay long. We thought about eating at the restaurant there, and I would have (lunch? At a castle? Doesn’t that sound like fun?), but the others weren’t really feeling it.

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


Top: Vintage (thrifted, Budapest Ecseri Bazaar)

Skirt: Abercrombie

July 6, 2019 – Bizarre Bazaar (OOTD #527)

I can’t believe I didn’t use that as one of my Instagram captions.

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young trash that likes looking at old trash

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As promised from yesterday’s blog about Budapest Central Market, I’m here now to discuss the superior of the two major markets in Budapest: the Ecseri Bazaar.

Being fair, they are two very different markets; it almost doesn’t make sense to compare them. Central Market focuses on food and *some* gifts and trinkets for tourists, while Ecseri is essentially a flea market. Central Market sells things that are brand new, while Ecseri sells things that are secondhand and vintage. Given my track record of buying vintage clothing, guess which one I was drawn to more?

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hey macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?

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I went with my friend, Bilal, and I think he was bored out of his mind. Too bad for him, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I absolutely adore looking at people’s old junk — especially people’s old junk in different countries and cultures. You can learn a lot about the history of a place by visiting a flea market, and Budapest was no exception.

I was tempted by a few pins that featured the classic Soviet hammer and sickle insignia, but there was no way to tell if they were authentic vintage pieces or just made in China reproductions for tourists like me. In the end, I wound up with two blouses and a coat — all for under 20 USD.

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yes homo

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In the afternoon,  I attended the Budapest Pride Parade alongside my friend and his Central European University friends. Of the various protests/parades/marches I’ve participated in in the last three years, this one may have been the most significant. Here’s the thing: marches are often boring. You walk super slowly, you maybe say a few chants, and you look at the funny signs. Maybe you get a cute picture for Instagram,. You don’t go because you want to have fun; you go because you care about the issue, or at the very least, civil society’s right to protest about their issue.

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dude, that’s gay

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This is an overgeneralization, but for the other marches I’ve attended, the marchers wanted an expansion on something that already existed. For example, at the climate change strike in Rome, the students wanted the Italian government to do more than what they were doing to stop the climate crisis. For this march, the marchers wanted something that doesn’t really exist at all in Hungary — LGBTQ rights.

That’s a significant difference, at least for me as a participant. In the latter case — advocating to have something that doesn’t exist — you feel more like a catalyst, like a trailblazer. It’s riskier to say you want something new than to say you want more of something you already have some of. Both are perfectly valid forms of demonstration, but one, to me as an individual, is more personally engaging.

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


Outfit 1:

Top: Forever21

Trousers: Thrifted (Salvation Army)

Outfit 2:

Top: Vintage (thrifted, Ecseri Bazaar)

Shorts: PacSun

June 20, 2019 – Lost and Found (OOTD #520)

This was not where I was supposed to wind up.

I was supposed to go on a tour of Italian Parliament with a group of Notre Dame students. We’d been learning about Italian politics as a part of our “cultural enrichment” activities, and the culmination of that lesson was supposed to be to see the actual seat of Italian politics.

Well, like I said, I was supposed to. Turns out, my phone bill reset on June 20, and I forgot to pay for another month of data and service. Naturally, my SIM card contract was in Italian, so it’s not like I could actually read it to know this information. It took me days to finally find someone at Vodafone who spoke English and could explain to me that the reason I suddenly couldn’t use my phone was that I hadn’t paid for another month of data.

Naturally, my Parliament tour was supposed to take place during this time when I had no service. And naturally, when I left my house, I forgot that my phone was in an unusable state, and so I headed to the Metro in the general direction of Parliament, thinking I could just use Google Maps to get me to Parliament after I got off at Piazza di Spagna.

Nope. After a few unsuccessful attempts to find a place with Wifi where I could download a map and hopefully then still make it on time for my tour, I decided to give up. I was too late, and besides, I still hadn’t figured out what direction to walk in.

So what does one do when their plans to visit Parliament are ruined?

My answer was a pity McDonalds trip. McDonalds in other countries are magical places; they’re a little slice of American culture lifted straight out of the US and deposited in a foreign land. They have free public toilets, free Wifi, and often, outlets to charge your phone — which, if you’ve been to Europe before, you know are all rare finds. They’re the real US Embassies.

But before I bought my pity milkshake and fries, I stopped into a church that happened to be open. I’ve discussed this already, but Rome is littered with old, beautiful churches — so many that honestly, they all kind of run together in my memory. It really is the Catholic Disneyworld.

Even if I sometimes tire of seeing old European churches, that doesn’t mean I won’t still pop my head in for a moment. Just like McDonalds, they can be a great way to get a way from the craziness of the city for a respite. Churches (small ones, that is — not the big tourist ones) are normally quiet, dark, and cool, which can be a lifesaver in the summer heat. They have benches to rest your feet, and in the majority of cases, they’re free to enter and you’re welcome to stay for as long as you need. Unless you’re there during mass, there’s no pressure to pray or read the Bible or talk to a priest, and a good church wouldn’t treat you any differently for not being a follower of their particular denomination or religion.

It’s the perfect place to wander into if you’re like me, and you just need somewhere cool to sit after trying unsuccessfully for an hour to get your phone to work and to find Parliament. That’s the nice thing about churches. They’re open if you need them.

(As a side note: an astute observer may notice that I edited out the cross behind me for my Instagram post. That has nothing to do with religious censorship or a desire to distance myself from religion; rather, I felt self-conscious posting a picture of myself in a church with such a somber expression right next to a cross. It looked prayerful, like a penitent nun, and I was afraid that people might misconstrue the image as an attempt to glorify myself as some kind of righteous, devout cleric. I’m not, and I don’t pretend to be. I don’t need a “God Help the Outcasts” moment. I’m just a person who wandered into a church and thought it was pretty — that’s all. To avoid any potential for people to misinterpret the meaning of the picture, I decided to just edit out the cross, as the most definitive piece of religious symbolism in the scene. Make of that what you will.)

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


Dress: Vintage (thrift, Brick Lane Market)

Jacket: Thrift (Clothes Mentor)

June 9, 2019 – Go Green (OOTD #515)

Wow, have I told you how much I like plants?

I mean, I only kept a small greenhouse in my dorm room both years at Notre Dame, attended a botany class for fun my fall semester of sophomore year, and stole a spider plant from the art building because I thought I could propagate it into a new plant (spoiler alert: I did, and it’s doing fabulously).

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bugging out 🦋

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For real, plants are just such an important lifestyle choice for me. Some people like to cook, some people like to work out, some people like to read Bible verses every night before they go to bed — I like to take care of indoor plants. They’re like children or pets, but without the emotional responsibility.

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does this staircase make me look taller

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Though, if I’m honest, I do form something of a bond with my plants. I don’t name them like some of my friends do, but I become intimately familiar with their likes and dislikes. This one likes full sun. This one likes the shade. This one needs to be watered with coffee every week in order to keep its acidity levels up. Each plant is its own individual scientific experiment; over time, I’ve learned to methodically alter one independent variable at a time in order to yield the best results.

In the absence of science lab classes now that I’m a full-time humanities major, it’s the only practice of the scientific method I really have left in my daily life. It reminds me of when I was a kid and science classes were fun, before a string of lousy science teachers in high school discouraged me from continuing to pursue the practice.

If I’m ever at a point in my life where things aren’t working out and I need a drastic change, though, I would still consider one field in scientific research: botany. I would absolutely consider dropping everything I’ve studied in history and politics and international relations and completely shift gears to get my PhD in botany. Maybe some years down the road, if I’m tired and burnt out on law and ready to become one of those adults who switches careers in their middle ages, I’ll do it.

On one condition — I think I’d want to work and do research in a botanical garden, like this one in Copenhagen. I could spend hours in the greenhouses there — and Anna and I did. Honestly, I think it was one of my favorite things that I saw in all of Europe this summer, and I got to see a lot of cool stuff. There are botanical gardens everywhere; I don’t think there was anything special about this one in Copenhagen that made it different from ones in other cities. The fact that it was still one of my favorite things that I saw (and honestly, maybe my absolute favorite thing from all of Copenhagen) really goes to show how much I adore looking at plants.

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


Dress: Vintage (thrift — Brick Lane Market)

Jacket: Thrift (Clothes Mentor)

 

March 28, 2019 – Welcome to the Sixties (OOTD #484)

Hey, remember when these blogs actually somewhat aligned with the real calendar date? Me neither.

So I’ve sort-of fallen behind. I hope you (and by you, I mean all three regular readers I suppose I have) don’t mind. I do actually really like to have a little bit of space in between the actual day the blog is supposed to be about and the date of that blog’s publication, but  three months is a little ridiculous; even I can admit that.

Regarding March 28’s outfit, though — it’s one of my favorites from March. I mean, I like the majority of my outfits — hence bothering to keep a fashion blog at all — but I’m particularly proud of this one.

Ever since I bought this retro disco dress at a vintage shop in Chicago, I’ve struggled to figure out how to wear it in new and interesting ways. It’s a great dress, don’t get me wrong — I love how blatantly 60s it is, it’s practically something I could have purchased at a Halloween shop with a Brigitte Bardot wig. However, that also poses problems — how do I wear it without looking like I purchased it at a Halloween shop?

It’s not exactly a dress I can throw a denim jacket over. It’s a deceptively simple dress; there’s very little to its design, but because of its bold pattern that immediately dates it to the 1960s, I have to be careful with how I accessorize it. Anything that seems more modern than the 60s, such as a denim jacket, would look silly when paired with it.

I thought this sweater was a good compromise. It’s got something of a vintage vibe to it as well, no?

I love this sweater — I honestly probably wear it way too much. For a cheap Forever21 purchase, it’s certainly lasted me a long time. It also happens to be my new favorite color to wear — yellow. Seems like a double-win for me.

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


Dress: A vintage shop in Chicago

Sweater: Forever21