July 11, 2018 – Monkeying Around (OOTD #328)

I’m back in Kathmandu again!

Yep, after about two straight weeks of intense classes and discussion, we’re finally off the hook. The last lecturer of the Madrasa Discourses summer intensive will be teaching exclusively in Urdu, which none of us Notre Dame students can understand, so we were allowed to go off on a little field trip on our own for the day.

The first stop for us (well, the second stop — we got pizza at a mall beforehand) was a design house where some other Notre Dame students were interning for the summer. They gave us a tour of the facilities, introduced us to the workers there, and showed us the prototypes they were working for for sale in fair trade shops.

It was neat, but a little slow. I’m totally here for the mission of fair trade — ensuring fair wages for workers, providing jobs for women who need them, etc. — but a tour of a factory is still just a tour of a factory.

Besides, I was pretty excited for what we’d be seeing next — the Swayambhunath Monkey Temple.

And yes, I did just have to Google the spelling of that.

Swayambhunath is arguably the most famous tourist site in Kathmandu, up there with Boudhanath, another Buddhist stupa. It’s 365 steps to the top (though we just drove up most of them), and along the way, as the name suggests, you get to meet some wild monkeys.

Wild monkeys are kind of scary! I guess that should be kind of obvious, based on the “wild” bit. And it’s not that I was expecting them to act like puppies and be all cute and ask for petting, but I figured, you know, since they’re in a tourist area, they’d be pretty used to tourists walking up and taking photos.

I guess not.

There are no terrifying stories of monkeys that attempted to attack me or anything like that, but I did get hissed at a few times from a distance. Key here is “from a distance.” After my first experience getting hissed at, I decided to keep far away from the monkeys.

But what about the stupa at the top of the steps? How did that stack up?

Pretty well! You know how I’d been complaining a bit over the last few days that seeing all of the temples and shrines was beginning to grow old? Not this one. Swayambhunath was decidedly spectacular — a big gold pillar into the sky surrounded by billowing prayer flags and spinning prayer wheels. There’s nothing boring about that.

It also helps that I got some of the best views of Kathmandu that I had seen ever from the top of the Swayambhunath stupa. I know I’ve spoken extensively about all the spectacular mountain views I saw in Nepal, but this cityscape could give all of them a run for their money in the “best Nepal views” competition.

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 Nepal. 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: Pitaya

Skirt: vintage (thrifted)

July 3, 2018 – Dichotomous (OOTD #320)

There are two distinct outfits in this blog post, so allow me to tackle them one by one.

Outfit #1, the main outfit for today, was actually not one I had intended to pack. I was afraid the leather pants would be too warm for monsoon season Nepal — and I was kind of right. Even sitting around in an air conditioned resort, I found it to be a little uncomfortable.

Why did I pack it, then? Well, it’s a really cute outfit. It was so cute I even got a living, breathing male who was not my father to compliment it — not like, the way I looked in it, or anything of that nature, but the outfit itself. How often does that happen? I don’t think many guys outside of the fashion industry ever notice the composition of outfits.

The second reason why I brought it was because I needed to bring more clean clothes. I didn’t really have the ability to do much laundry while at the resort, so I decided to simply bring enough clothes to do me for the 21 days I’d be away. In other words, there will be a lot of laundry to do when I finally do get home.

It was just another normal day of sitting around and chatting about Islamic theology and modernity, so there’s not a lot to report on that front. What there is to report about is what I did after the session was over for the day, and that is where outfit #2 comes in.

Outfit #2 is basically just a rehash of an outfit from a few days back. In fact, it literally is just the same outfit, but minus the jacket. I knew I’d be going out and possibly getting sweaty and/or dirty, so rather than go out in the cute outfit I’d been wearing the majority of the day, I went digging in my dirty clothes pile and threw these together. If it’s already dirty, there’s no harm in getting it dirtier, right?

Anyway, after finishing up classes, a group of us decided to go out for a walk into town. Town? Is that the right word? We’re in Dhulikhel, which is about an hour outside of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Dhulikhel could perhaps best be described in American terms as a suburb of Kathmandu, as it’s a primarily residential area outside of a major city with some of its own shops and businesses, and yet, it’s so far from what I typically imagine a suburb to be like. Village seems to be best word to describe the collection homes that dot the side of the mountain (which I saw yesterday), town seems to be the best word to describe the feeling of the ‘’downtown’’ shopping district, and suburb seems to be the best word to describe the location of Dhulikhel in relation to Kathmandu. The point is, I don’t really know what Dhulikhel is, other than a relatively small place where I’ll be staying for the next to weeks.

There were six of us who decided to go out for this adventure: three Notre Dame students (including myself), and three Pakistani students. And thank goodness those three Pakistani guys were there, otherwise we probably would not have made it very far away from the hotel. None of the six of us could speak any Nepali, but the Pakistani guys could speak Urdu, which I guess is similar to Nepali, or otherwise the Nepali people could understand Urdu. Anyway, they were able to walk into shops and ask for directions around town, which was fabulous, because I doubt Citymapper would do me much good in Dhulikhel.

The instructions we were given by the locals was to head to the ‘’1000 steps temple,’’ which was about a 30 minute stroll away from the hotel. As the name suggests, it involved walking a lot of steps up to the top.

Was it actually 1000 steps? I’m not sure. We only made it up a couple hundred of them before we reached the giant golden Buddha. Giant gold Buddha was not the temple we had in mind to go to, but when you reach a giant gold Buddha in the forest, you’ve got to stop and see him. 

Only problem was, the gate was locked.

Apparently, the gates to gold Buddha closed at 5:30, and we arrived at 6. At this point, we split into two camps: those of us who wanted to try to get in, and those who wanted to go home. As the photos suggest, the first camp — the one I was a part of — won.

One of the guys with us managed to climb over the gate and unlock it from the inside, allowing us all to get in. And I’m sure glad he did, because when else am I going to get to see a giant gold Buddha statue in my life?

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 Nepal. 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: H&M

Outfit #2

Top: Vintage (thrifted)

Pants: Thrifted

July 1, 2018 – Jet Lagged (OOTD #318)

Oh dear, it looks like the jet lag has hit me like a…well, a jet.

My first night in Nepal, I had no trouble sleeping. After the long, stressful journey of 30 hours, I was ready to crash. The second night though, apparently, not so much.

It’s interesting because I remember having no trouble justing to the time difference in London — perhaps that was because I stayed up the entire plane ride, so that by the time I made it to Heathrow in the morning, and I was forced to stay up for another 8 hours, I was more than ready to sleep at night.

Here, though, I slept pretty easily throughout the plane ride, making it more difficult trying to adjust to the 9 hours and 45 minutes difference. Why 9 hours and 45 minutes? Apparently Nepal wanted to distinguish itself from India, so their clocks are 15 minutes off from India’s time. There’s your fun fact for the day.

Anyway, after a night of barely sleeping at all, I decided to get up at about 5 AM and just start my day. No point in just laying there in bed and feeling badly for myself for not being able to sleep, right?

That’s when these photos were taken, actually — in the wee hours of the morning before anyone else was up. Since I had nothing to do, I figured I’d prop up my phone and take some simple photos in the lounge area of the hotel. No one but a few housekeepers was around to judge me, so it made it pretty easy.

The rest of the day was spent in the conference. The first half was a lecture by a professor from Duke on feminism in Islamic texts and law, and the second half was  a guided discussion amongst the students on our thoughts about the lecture.

Not being a scholar of Islam or even a Muslim, it was a little difficult to think of things to stay during the discussion. The people at my table seemed interested to hear my perspective as a Christian American woman, but I’m not positive that what I ended up saying was really all that helpful. My purpose here is not to say anything wildly controversial or profound though, but just to add more dimension to the conversation, to provide another facet of the human experience. I hope I did that.

But even if I didn’t, there’s plenty more time to do so! I have 13 more days before the conference ends, so even if I was useless today, maybe tomorrow, I won’t be.

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 Nepal. 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: H&M

Top: Vintaged (thrifted)

Pants: Thrifted

June 26, 2018 – Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? (OOTD #314)

Okay, but you feel me, right? I definitely look like I’m a muppet from Sesame Street in this outfit.

There’s something about the lime green and yellow combo that reminds me of Big Bird or Bernie or one of the various characters — I guess it’s something of a childlike color scheme, and that’s why it’s calling to mind thoughts of Sesame Street. The fact that I’m wearing basically a jumper with tights and loafers as well…should’ve just put my hair in pigtails and I would’ve had the preschooler look down, huh?

This was my last day before I departed for Nepal, which meant basically that I spent the entire time packing.

I have friends who are excellent at that — they make a list of everything they need, they start packing things weeks in advance, and by the night before they travel, they’re all set to go. Then there’s me.

I’m not the worst, I have to say. I do begin my packing like…a day or two before I leave. Still, I usually wind up frantically putting outfits together and filling travel bottles of shampoo very late at night before I have to go, trying to keep my eyes open and just generally regretting my life choices.

When I had to leave for college, I actually didn’t begin packing until about three days before I had to go — big mistake. Packing for college was probably one of the most stressful experiences of my last few years, and mostly because I left it to the absolute last second. It was also stressful because I was you know, packing for my freshman year of college and that conceptually was scary.

Leaving for Nepal on my own is also conceptually kind of scary. I’ve only traveled on my own domestically before; any international travel has always been with a friend or family. I’m going from Lexington to Chicago to Abu Dhabi to Kathmandu over the course of about 30 hours, and while Kathmandu is very exciting, going through security repeatedly and navigating terminals is not.

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 Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Dress: Vintage (thrift)

Top: H&M

Leggings: AMIClubwear

June 24, 2018 – Writer’s Block (OOTD #311)

I’ve been sitting here for like, a half an hour trying to think of a good way to start this blog, but I’ve got nothing.

Usually, I find writing these blogs to be fairly easy — I begin with some sort of observation about my outfit, some pun that plays into the blog’s title, or a continuation of a thought begun in a previous blog. Sometimes, I’ll even just start into a discussion of what happened that day, especially if it was an exciting day with events worth discussing.

This day, however, had no particularly exciting events (Buying some new shoes! Running errands! Eating dinner!), and no easy puns to make.

As a kid in elementary school, we used to have to keep these writing journals. They were meant to help us practice our writing skills — you know, composition, grammar, etc. — and we were supposed to start each day when we arrived in the classroom by writing a paragraph or two. Sometimes, there was a prompt, but more often, you were expected to come up with something to write about on your own.

Yo have no idea how many of those journal entires for me began with something along the lines of “I don’t know what to write about.”

Back then, I used to think I was so clever by responding to the challenge of writing every day with such a rebellious statement — here my teacher was telling me to write, and my answer was that I had nothing to say. It was kind of meta, if you will.

At the same time though, it was kind of lazy. There’s only so much thought vomit about writer’s block that can be amusing before it just gets obnoxious and pretentious.

As you’ve probably noticed here though, that’s what I’m doing now! The 2018 Grown-Up Meilin version of those journal entries I made when I was a kid. I guess I’m just as obnoxious and pretentious as I was back then.

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 Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: Free People

Skirt: Vintage (thrifted)

June 13, 2018 – Warm Colors on a Warm Day (OOTD #302)

Perhaps the most common criticism I hear about my fashion sense is that no matter the season, I always dress like it’s fall.

Take this outfit for example — I don’t remember exactly what the temperature was the day I wore this, but given the fact that it was mid-June in Kentucky, it’s safe to say it was hot and humid. Even if it wasn’t as hot and humid as usual, it was still hot and humid.

And yet there I was — wearing a knee-length jacket and a long-sleeve sweater. The skirt and the platform wedges give hint to the reality that it was probably 85 degrees out and sunny, but on the whole, the outfit reads more as 65 degrees and overcast.

Interestingly though, fall is not my favorite season — as mentioned many times here on this blog, that distinction goes to winter, no doubt about it. Fall is second-favorite for me, though. I like the changing leaves and the cooler temperatures, but I just like the snow and the cold even better. Plus, winter allows you to bust out the heavy coats and scarves — I love layering, which you can do in fall, but not to the same extent you can in winter.

That would make summer, with its stifling heat that prohibits anything but the most basic layering, my least favorite season. In fact, I am so deeply not a fan of summer, that I usually choose to ignore the weather, and dress however I want — and since wearing a winter coat in the summer would might give rise to enough suspicion to let a cop do a warrantless search, that usually ends up being a summer-winter hybrid. So, fall.

The thing is, though, that I’m always comfortable. I work indoors, I go to school indoors, and whenever I do something that involves being outdoors for more than a few minutes, I do dress appropriately for the weather. It’s all about dressing for the environment you’re in.

The rest is about suffering the heat without complaint too much and bringing lots of blotting papers.

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 Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: Vintage (thrifted)

Top: thrifted

Skirt: Forever21

July 11, 2018 – Outfit and Blog Do Not Relate (OOTD #301)

I’m headed out of the country in less than 24 hours!

This time tomorrow, I should be on a plane headed to Abu Dhabi, UAE, en route to my final destination Kathmandu, Nepal.

Exciting, right? Well, maybe the Kathmandu part, but not so much the traveling portion. I’ll be stuck in the Chicago O’Hare (hey, at least it’s not Midway!) for like, six hours before getting on my plane to Abu Dhabi for seventeen hours. Then I have to wait there for another three hours, and then fly to Kathmandu for four hours. I think we calculated it last night, and I have 27 total hours of transit time before I finally touch down in Nepal at 9pm local time on Friday? Yike.

I’ve been working on packing all day today, and at the very least, I have a lot of exciting Nepal-appropriate outfits to show you guys while I’m there! Hopefully, one of the other students there will be comfortable to take my photos. I don’t know any of them really, but  I’m sure we’ll all have to play photographer for each other at one point or another — I just…you know, usually need someone to play photographer for me more often than most.

But that has nothing to do with the outfit I’m posting pictures of here, does it? Well…no. That’s the drawback of posting these OOTDs with a several day-delay — it protects me for days when I don’t feel like dressing up and taking pictures, but it hurts when I have something exciting in my life that I’m not able to write about for until days after it happens.

In truth, I’m not sure when my first Nepal-related blog will go live, since I don’t know how soon after I arrive I’ll be able to start taking OOTD photos, but hopefully, it shouldn’t be long. Most of the time I’m there, I’ll be doing school-related work, which might not be super exciting, but I will have a few field trips with the group, so I should definitely get some good pictures then.

Next time I write to you guys, it’ll actually probably just be me sitting in the O’Hare airport waiting to board my Abu Dhabi-bound plane. Wish me luck, and pray that I don’t get trapped in the Atlanta airport for 48 hours like the last time I flew internationally!

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 Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Dress: vintage (thrifted)

May 27, 2018 – Rustic Chic (OOTD #293)

I feel like these shots are the personification of one of those trendy Pinterest crafts that shows you how to put a succulent into a mason jar and make it look cute.img_1049-1

Rustic chic is very trendy aesthetic right now, though I’m pretty sure it’s been trendy ever since I was in middle school, about ten years ago. Middle class white Americans everywhere seem to be in love with the repurposed but still charmingly rustic farm materials look, and just about every picture here reflects that.

It helps of course that most of them were taken at an actual farm — a horse farm, to be specific. My grandmother was visiting town, so we took her to an upscale vintage and antique market that was going on at the Kentucky Horse Park. There were mason jars and string lights and succulents everywhere; it was a Facebook mom’s dream.

Though I didn’t really buy much (just a plant — surprise, surprise), I did get some really pretty pictures. There was a sign outside that warned against taking pictures (I guess because they didn’t want you copying the vendors’ ideas?), but no one seemed to mind me wandering in and out of booths taking pictures whenever I saw a pretty arrangement of flowers.

And there were so many! It wasn’t just a Facebook mom’s dream; it was a fashion blogger’s. I wish I had brought several outfits along so I could do a real shoot and get more varied content for my Instagram feed; as it was though, I only had the one I wore. Unfortunate.

Fun fact, though — both my jacket and my dress here are vintage, just like the things for sale at this market! The jacket was originally part of a two-piece outfit with a long cream skirt, and the dress was originally much longer until it was shortened. I hadn’t thought of pairing them together before, and I felt pretty clever for making up an entire outfit of vintage pieces for this event.

If you’ll remember, I actually went to this event last year as well! Back then, I had long blonde hair and dressed in red, white, and blue for Memorial Day. Amazing what a year of difference makes, isn’t it? I am reconsidering going blonde again, though. We’ll see.

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 Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Jacket: Vintage (thrifted)

Dress: Vintage (thrifted)

May 17, 2018 – Zero for Two (OOTD #285)

This post is a day late and I’m posting May 17’s outfit after May 18’s — that’s two strikes against me.

Look, keeping up with a 90% daily fashion blog is hard. I do my best, but sometimes, it doesn’t work out. I hope you can forgive me 🙂

I really like how this outfit turned out. Once again, I’m rocking the sunglasses + sunhat look owing to summer laziness and a general lack of motivation to put on makeup. Still, I feel like they fit really well with the vintage vibe I get from this swingy skirt (which is actually vintage! It’s from a local flea market) — it makes me feel classy, like I’m too mysterious to reveal too much of my face.

In reality, of course, I just had a day that I didn’t feel fixing my hair and makeup since I was just hanging out at home by myself. I like to get dressed up for myself, but I’m not quite at the point where I’ll do a full face of makeup for no reason.

No Instagram makeup blogs for me, I guess.

In other news, look how great our Japanese Maple is doing! I like plants now, so I’m very proud of it. Even though I’ve been at school all year and have done literally nothing to contribute to its wellbeing. I still like to think it’s my presence that’s causing it to thrive.

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 Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: Thrifted

Skirt: Vintage (thrifted)

April 13, 2018 – 80s Figure Skater Aesthetic (OOTD #266)

I’m pretty sure I’m only getting this vibe because I just saw I, Tonya and I think she wore an outfit like this in the movie.

You see what I’m seeing though, with the vibrant striped sweater and the swingy skirt? Total 80s figure skater vibe. The sweater’s even vintage and everything!

You’ll have to excuse my lack of a Saturday Musings post today; I didn’t get a chance to take any flatlay photos before Saturday. In its place, you get a regular OOTD post — hopefully, I’ll get a Saturday Musings post in tomorrow instead. It’ll be Sunday instead of a Saturday, but you know — it happens.

After this weekend, I’ll only have a week and a half left of classes before finals week and then the end of my freshman year. Can you believe it? I definitely can’t.

I’m kind of sad because I’m afraid I’ll almost completely miss out on spring weather — it’s only just this week really begun to feel spring-like here in South Bend, and I know that by the time I’m back in Lexington, it’ll feel like summer. Ho hum. I guess that’s what I get for getting such a lovely, long autumn earlier this school year.

I am excited though to go home and get to use some new backgrounds that aren’t just Notre Dame buildings. I think I did a decent job of diversifying things with stairwells and empty classrooms in recent months, though — it’s not all doors anymore!

I’m also excited to have my parents come visit campus, because then I’ll have free reign to have them take my picture in front of any building I want without feeling badly about asking someone to go out of their way and take pictures of me! Not that my parents wouldn’t necessarily still be going out of their way for photos — but I don’t feel badly asking them because they’re my parents. Maybe we’ll get some shots inside of main building — or even the basilica.

Stay tuned.

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 Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Sweater: vintage (thrifted)

Skirt: thrift